Kit Loughran | February 17, 2017
I’ve never experienced a worse case of the “scaries.”
It was the day after New Year’s and my mom had just dropped me off at the airport. The day I kept saying to myself was so far off had finally arrived — the end of my holiday break. As I went from check-in through security and on to the boarding queue, the pit in my stomach grew. Back to the salt mine.
For four years, after Christmas break, I’d headed back to Notre Dame for a brand new semester, a fresh start. New classes, new professors, a clean slate. That fresh start kicked off with “syllabus week,” a week of no homework, of parties and nights out and, the best part, of reuniting with my friends. I was always excited and beyond ready to get back to campus.
This was different. I didn’t want to say goodbye to my family just yet, and I was especially jealous of my younger siblings who all had two more weeks of doing, well, nothing. My family is from Southern California, so I also wasn’t ready to leave the sunshine for ice-cold Chicago. Or, the comforts of home for the office. (Though I couldn’t complain. Since the advertising industry shuts down for the holidays, I did get almost a full two weeks off — unlike my finance friends who were back at their desks two days after Christmas.)
Still, the thought of being back in my company’s Michigan Avenue office, my Outlook calendar blocked full with meetings and hot deadlines, seemed incredibly daunting to this girl, who only a year earlier was heading back to Notre Dame for the most fun semester of her college career.
It’s not exactly that same fresh start returning to work. The first week back is not playful. I was thrown back into client work that had carried over from 2016, and suddenly a million more projects popped up as my colleagues and I began ramping up for campaigns that will launch in March.
I’ll admit it: Two days back and I was in a slump. Realizing the real world isn’t broken into semesters hit me hard. It’s never-ending from January to December.
I wasn’t the only one thinking this either. My friends were also consumed by this overwhelming anxiety. Mentally, how were we supposed to make it? We needed to act.