The Do’s and Don’ts of Freaking Out

There are moments in life, especially when graduation in only a few months away and the weight of the choices you are about to make is coupled with the stress of daily college life, that you become overwhelmed in an impulsive and profound way.  In layman’s terms: you freak out.

We’ve been there. More recently than we’d like to admit. OK it was like earlier this week.

The truth is you’re going to freak out occasionally no matter what you do. It happens to everyone. But there are good ways to deal with it and there are very, very bad ways. Speaking from experience I’d like to help you tell the difference:

1. Don’t look at the professional websites and/or resumes of your classmates, peers, co-workers, etc. This kind of behavior is poisonous and should be avoided at all costs. Unplug your Internet if you have to. Trust us. Arielle and I have done this. Nothing good can come of it.

Yes, some of your friends are more accomplished than you, and are better looking, and have more focus in life, and that’s a fact that you’re going to have to face eventually. But now is not the time. You are freaking out and very sensitive. You may think that looking at those beautiful, shining resumes may inspire you to get your act together, but it will really only intimidate you.

A wise man once said, “Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.” So don’t start yourself on that path!

2. Get out of your house. Seriously. Get out of there! What are you still doing inside!

If you’re freaking out, the worst thing you can do is sit in your chair and stare into space, hoping that the answers to life will just come to you. They won’t!

In fact, if you stay inside, the chances of those answers coming are slimmest. So go outside. Do something. Do anything. You might have an experience that could make you think differently. You never know.

At the very least, getting outside will help your remember that there’s a world out there with tons of cool things and interesting people.

3. Don’t start applying to grad school.  We’ve all been there:

Be honest with yourself: you don’t really want to go to grad school. So why are you applying?

Yes, the job market is bad, and yes, people with a master’s degree statistically earn more money and happier futures. But do you really want more money and a happy future? Of course not! You’re an idealistic whippersnapper and you want to suffer!

Besides, you’re going to come to you senses about an hour after you start your application and abandon the whole idea anyway. So why waste an hour?

4. Have a laugh. They say laughter is the best medicine. I think that’s especially true when you’re freaking out. Sometimes when I’m freaking out I watch FailBlog and soon enough I’m having such a good time that I forget all about graduation.

But then again I have a truly twisted sense of humor so this might only work for me.

5. Take a shower. I don’t really believe in epiphanies, but if you’re going to have one, it will most likely be while you’re taking a shower. Why? Because the shower has magical properties that help you think and relax, which are ideal conditions for having a cathartic moment.

And if this doesn’t happen, at the very least you’ll end up feeling warm and refreshed. You may still be freaking out, but at least you’ll be squeaky clean.

6. Consider watching Carl Sagan’s “The Pale Blue Dot”. Carl Sagan’s reflection on universal scale and human life inspired by a picture of the Earth taken from Saturn, is one of the most poignant and . If you’re in the right mood, this video will help you take a step back from your life and put your problems into perspective.

But proceed with caution! If you’re in the wrong mood, this video can freak you out even more!  Instead of helping you calm down, this video has the potential to bring on thoughts of existential nihilism, causing you feel like giving up on everything because your life doesn’t matter very much.

We warned you.

7. Don’t freak your parents out. Your parents have always been there for you, right? Kind, supportive,

When you’re freaking out it can be tempting to call them up and say something unreasonable, like you want to drop out of school, or join the circus, or switch your major to circus studies.

Don’t do this. It’s just not helpful. Your parents want you to be happy, but they are not going to support your crazy quarter life crisis. Telling them that stuff will only make them worry about you unnecessarily.

Even worse, it might make them ask you what you got on your midterms, and if you’re on track to graduate on time, and I can bet you’re not in the mood to talk about those things.

8. Stay organized. Freaking out can actually be a good catalyst for getting stuff done. Obviously you can’t chart your whole future in one sitting, but you can make a list and start taking care of things that you’ve been meaning to do.

Mark some things on the calendar and set some goals. But keep those things relatively small and easily accomplished. You’ll start feeling better about yourself in no time.

9. Read Plastics. Obviously.

10. Don’t buy a plane ticket to a foreign country. My roommate freshman year almost did this after a particularly bad night of freaking out. He didn’t buy it though, and that’s a good thing.

Fleeing the country is simply a bad idea. Travel is fun and exciting, but it won’t solve your problems, especially if you just jump ship on a whim.

Your life is here. You’ll figure it out. Don’t go anywhere.

— Jordan


One Comment on “The Do’s and Don’ts of Freaking Out”

  1. […] gave advice in your blog for what to do when you’re freaking out about the future. I recommend the song […]

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