A friend recently asked me about the process of ordering caps and gowns.
At first, I was taken aback by the question. It seemed premature to already start making graduation plans.
I thought, “I don’t need to worry about that yet.”
But then reality struck:
I’m graduating in the spring, and I don’t feel ready.
I came into my senior year petrified, because I realized I really don’t know what I’m doing after graduation..
I kept telling myself that I wasn’t the only senior who didn’t have their future figured out, but that didn’t stop the anxiety attacks and sleepless nights.
All I could think about was leaving college and entering the real world, all in less than eight months. I couldn’t think about graduation without spiraling.
I was dreading the day I had worked so hard to make happen.
To make things even more stressful, I’m graduating a year early.
In three years, I was able to earn a bachelor’s degree in English and a certificate in journalism.
On top of juggling 19 credits, writing for The Spectrum and being an RA, figuring out what I want to do next year is a huge burden. Finding a job, getting a car and locating housing are just more problems I’ll have to deal with in the future.
I’ve put in so much effort to get where I am. When do I get to stop stressing and enjoy the last few months I have here?
I felt like I was sheltered before senior year. College is its own little bubble, where everything is familiar and available to you.
But this year is when the bubble bursts. The future smacks you in the face.
How can I focus on doing homework and extracurriculars when I have these important things to figure out?
On top of being constantly stressed, the loneliness was suffocating.
All of my friends have at least one more year at college — they aren’t going through this transition with me.
I feel like they don’t understand the pressure I’m under. I’m constantly worrying about something when they still have time to figure things out.
But in reality, I have plenty of time.
You aren’t forced to have your life figured out after senior year.
But the societal pressure of finishing school and finding a job right after graduation are real, and it’s plaguing my life.
It’s also incredibly sad that I’m leaving my friends and the only life I’ve known for the last three years. My friends have become my family, and I feel like I’ve finally found my place at college. And of course, now I’m leaving.
I try not to think about leaving everything behind because that sends me down a dark hole.
A friend I made this year is also graduating, but she has a totally different experience than I do. She has been at UB for four years, and she can’t wait to leave.
She knows exactly what she wants to do, and has everything mapped out.
Seeing her so confident with what she wants to do makes me even more nervous and scared for my future.
Part of me wonders if I made a mistake by graduating early and not giving myself enough time to figure life out.
Victoria Hill is an assistant news/features editor and can be reached at email@example.com