The last week has been a rollercoaster of emotions: strung-out stress, sheer exhaustion; hyperactivity; those dreaded moments of complete panic; late nights and early mornings. Not mention endless cups of coffee and tea and Red Bull; falling asleep beside the computer; waking up with jolts of fear and worry; and the spectre of the deadline looming constantly overhead.
There was no particular relief when it was handed in. There was nervous giddy laughter. There was joking with my classmates. There was relaxed banter in the college bar. But the only actual feeling that I had was a weird sense of confusion. Other than that, I was basically numb. I was still jittery and anxious. I felt that I should still be doing something. I stretched out my legs in the college bar and I tried to remind my tired, whirring brain that it could stop now. The finish line had been reached. It was over.
Yet my brain couldn’t seem to comprehend that and I sat for a few more hours in a state of constant nerves until I decided to go home. Once there, I collapsed onto the couch where I slept for two hours straight before getting ready to head out on the town with my classmates. We were all like zombies and were home by half two.
Day two post-thesis was no better. I wandered aimlessly around the house after sleeping for hours. I couldn’t watch TV because of a hangover-induced headache. It was raining so I couldn’t go for a walk. My car was left at my friends’ house, halfway across the city. I didn’t want to do anything.
What do you really do once such a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulders? I feel strangely, impossibly light. There is no need to do anything. If I want to lie in, I can. If I want to go to bed early, I can. I can go out all day. It doesn’t matter. But now that I have the time to do anything, all I want to do is nothing. Will this pass? Will I eventually get over it or get through? What is life like on the other side of the thesis?
For the past two months I’ve been worrying and wondering about it. No matter what I do, it’s been hanging over my head – around the corner of every fun night, lurking in the back of my mind. And now, incredibly, it’s just… gone.
I can now sit in and watch Grey’s Anatomy for nights on end if I want. Nights out with the girls will no longer be tinged with guilt or with a sense that I really should go home early so that I can get up in the morning and keep working. I can visit friends and family that I haven’t seen in ages: all completely guilt-free. I can go where I want, eat what I want, shop where I want (after the job hunt of course). It’s all so suddenly, unbelievably clear.
I am 100 per cent free...and I love it.