“I can’t do this.”
It’s been two weeks since I moved out of Sheffield and started my first full-time job after university. As some of you may know, I recently completed my undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences (with Employment Experience) which I did at the University of Sheffield… in my hometown! I didn’t move out and lived at home during my undergrad to save money and give me more flexibility to do what I wanted whether that was juggling studies, part-time jobs and other commitments, I knew that my parents had my back.
I guess I never truly understood how difficult all the “life” stuff is when they would be helping me manage it all whilst I was studying.
Well, until I moved out.
It’s funny because in the past (as in just a few months ago) I would beam over the fact that I will be taking control of my life – truly managing every aspect of it without depending on my family. I was excited to build a life of amazing balance with my new job, health and general house stuff (cleaning, cooking etc) all without my parents around to give me a helping hand.
I wish I could tell you how my life these past two weeks have been so absolutely wonderful and how independence is easy but the truth is, I’ve found it very difficult to adjust to.
Much more difficult than I imagined.
I took a placement year during my studies to work full-time. I ended up working in Sheffield so even though I was ready to move for my placement year – quite eagerly as well – the cards kept me in my familiar, safe environment. Working full time was a transition that took a few weeks for me to get used to, but my family made sure that I was in great shape – helping me meal prep, waking me up when I slept in and even “training” me to get into a routine until eventually, I found my discipline.
After the wonderful experience of my placement year, I expected that transitioning into my new job and new life would be easy. After all, I’ve been waiting to get out of being a student for a whole year now and it had finally come!
Reality hit when I was leaving my home, the familiar environment and people. I suddenly found myself bang on the centre of a bigger city, with unfamiliar faces filling foreign streets (totally unlike my hometown where I had more breathing room) speaking in accents that were new.
The first few hours were fine, I kept telling myself that I’m okay, it’s normal to be anxious and I have so got this. It wasn’t until after I unpacked the last box and looked around in an attempt to make my new space feel like home that I broke down.
All I could feel was fear of not knowing much about the city or what my upcoming job would be like and just… not knowing much. A 180-degree change from knowing everything from the history of the streets I walked on to the people around me.
I was overwhelmed.
There was so much overwhelm and stress that – sorry if this is TMI – my body reacted too: my hormones were all over the place, my period was very late, and I suffered from pulses of horrible headaches throughout my day.
Thankfully, I’ve moved in with someone incredibly patient. I spent time crying to Matt, crying alone in the bathroom then waking up and eventually crying to help myself to sleep.
Despite this, my first working day I put a brave face on. I successfully navigated my way to work, I searched for the confident-Sasha-fierce-like part within me to create a positive first impression and make it through my first working day, I returned home and made a healthy dinner and from exhaustion (from work, the move, the unshakable anxieties since I stepped into the city) fell asleep. I repeated this all week, I even got gym sessions in!
My parents took time out of their day to speak to me, encourage me and keep my spirits high. “Hey, you’re Pauline remember?” *cue Moana – I am Moana*
Thanks, Papa. 👍🏻
People have reassured me that this “part” will pass and in no time, I’ll be jumping around Leeds making an imprint (paw-print 😉) on the city through positive contributions and general badassery – just how I wanted to.
I didn’t envision my first post about moving to be like this and quite honestly, I didn’t want people to know how much the move has impacted me and I’m sure as hell that my Stories on Instagram has given everyone a distorted reality; I mean, I like to document things but my breakdowns is not one of them.
But this has been my first experience moving away and my reality so, here it is served on a cracked plate!
I don’t want you all thinking that moving away is awful and that you should stay where you’re comfortable forever, because there will never be room for improvement and growth (like I have stressed everywhere!) It really just is a new experience, that will get easier from others guidance and my own willingness.
So I am now working on making the whole move a better experience for myself by:
- 💖 Planning on visits to see my family and friends in Sheffield often
- 💪🏼 Trying to shift my focus on, “I can’t breathe, I can’t do this.” to… *Edna Mode voice* “PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER! WHAT WILL YOU DO? IS THIS A QUESTION? GO! CONFRONT THE PROBLEM! FIGHT! WIN!” i.e. you rock, Paw.
- ✨ Taking it easy and not beating myself up for not knowing everything just yet (in terms of my job and new life.)
- 👭 Going out to meet new people through meet-ups!
- 🙌🏼 Focus on the exciting future and not dwell on “how it was before at home, at work etc.” This is a new and exciting chapter – experiment, see what works, broaden my horizons!!
- ❤️ Remembering that there is more to life than work. I will try and not get sucked into the routine and forget the things that spark happiness (referring to creative work especially)
(Edna Mode is honestly my inspiration right now. 😂)
These are things I’ve really tried to practice on my second working week and I can’t tell you enough how much it’s already helping!
What are your experiences on moving out? Have you got any tips? I’d love to hear them!