It’s okay to be scared
Most of the senior columns I’ve read in my four years at Assumption have said something along the lines of “it goes so fast, don’t take it for granted,” which is true enough, but I kind of feel like they almost always geared toward underclassmen and telling them to absolutely dread graduation. I’m over-simplifying, but that’s the vibe I tend to get. So my senior column is going to be directed at my fellow seniors.
That being said, I want to talk about what I think is one of the most important things you can realize in your senior year of college: it is okay to be terrified for the future.
Thanksgiving is coming quickly, meaning all those extended family members you see twice a year asking, “What are your plans for after you graduate?” And we’ll have to plaster on our best fake smile and explain that we’re waiting to hear from an interview or a school. What sucks the most is that these people definitely know that you don’t have the answers because it’s November and you have six more months of school, Aunt Karen, mind your own business.
Thinking about where I’ll be a year from now is a scary thing. Will I be in grad school? Will I be working? Will I be living with my parents back in Connecticut? I keep coming up with great Halloween costumes for my roommates and myself for next year, but then I realize I can’t plan that far ahead, because none of us know where we’ll be. We might be scattered across the country or we might all be working in the same city, living within five blocks of each other.
Thinking about all of this always leads to thinking about the choices I’ve made throughout the last few years, and it tends to bring my train of thought to “what if I chose the wrong career path when I was 14 and I regret every second of my college academics in ten years?” And honestly, that’s something I’ve really been struggling with lately. I don’t actually think I made the wrong decision, thanks to the absurd amount of pre-practicum experience I’ve been able to do through the Education department, but the fear is always there. And I think a lot of seniors can relate to that.
It’s not like it was in senior year of high school. Back then, we knew we were still going to have some sort of structure and guidance for the next four years. But now, there’s no guarantee of that. There’s a pretty good chance that we’ll be on our own in a brand new environment, trying to find someone who is willing to act as a type of advisor for the first few months.
What it all comes down to in uncertainty. The unknown is not something people generally like to think about. The fact that, for most of us, what comes after graduation is a giant blank on the calendar causes a stomach-churning, sweat-inducing panic. Adults always tell us we’re going to be fine, that it’s all going to work out, but there’s no way to be sure of that.
I’m not trying to freak you guys out, I swear. I’m tying to tell you that if you feel this way, you’re definitely not alone. And if this column made you feel that way, I’m sorry, but you’re not alone. Honestly, I think the best any of us can do is tell ourselves that change is good. It’s an important part of life, and becoming too comfortable with your situation leads to becoming complacent, and that’s the last thing I want. So I’m taking the change as well as I can.
When I’m not thinking about how frightening the Real World™ is, I’m thinking about how excited I am to finally be getting out there. Things are happening, people. Call it what you want: life, adventure, destiny, fate, the excruciating pointlessness of existence, whatever. I think it’s going to be great, and hopefully by May I’ll be ready to take the world by storm.
Julia Stevens, a senior, studies English and secondary education. She is a copy editor for Le Provocateur.