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The 15 Stages of Career Anxiety You Experience as a Junior

As a junior in college, you’re likely hovering between two stages—you’re definitely not a newbie, but you’re also far from ready for graduation. As Britney Spears so eloquently put it, you’re not a girl but not yet a woman. Stuck in the stage where you need to buckle down about your career and finish school strong—all while beginning to plan for the future—it’s no wonder that stress can ensue! When you’re thinking about your career as a junior, here’s what you can expect. Just remember to stay strong—we’ve all been there… or will be there soon! 

1. Your schedule just got a whole lot more intense

You realize your class schedule is getting much more specific. No more blow-off classes or easy As. Everything is directly training you for your career. 

2. Friends are setting an (intimidating) example for you

Your older friends have graduated and are moving on to grad school or starting a real grown-up job.

3. Professors keep trying to connect you with future bosses

You’re constantly urged to start reaching out to potential employers, and so are your classmates. Which means…

4. The competition heats up

Your portfolio, resume and work samples all of a sudden seem to pale in comparison to your classmates’.

 5. You delve into frequent denial

You sometimes live life trying to pretend you’re as carefree as the incoming freshmen are. It’s only minimally successful. 

6. Stress eating occurs… a lot of stress eating

Scope out companies and agencies that could employ me in the future? No thanks, I’ll just eat this entire cake instead. On that note…

7. Procrastination is at its worst

You know you’re officially on the downward slope toward graduation and getting a real job, but it’s easier to stay in bed than face that fact.

8. Parental control kicks in

Your parents start to ask (read: interrogate) you about what your plans for the future are. 

9. Friends are scooping up internships

You haven’t applied to any internships yet, and it seems like your friends are already jetting off to all corners of the country for incredible opportunities. How?

10.  Regrets surface

You realize you probably should have taken a few more classes your freshman and sophomore years to lessen the load this year, which would mean you’d have more time for career planning or to take a semester off for an internship.

11. So does anxiety for the future

Where will you live? Will your job pay the bills? Will you have enough money to continue your stress eating habit?

12. Cover letters, resumes and qualifications, oh my!

You’re puzzled as to why you were never specifically taught how to write a resume or cover letter. 

13. Professional references escape you

Even though you’ve had countless professors who’ve had a great opinion of you, somehow they all fly out of your head when you’re asked to provide references on a resume or application.

14. But you eventually pull yourself together, grab a coffee and decide to get your life on track

These freakouts are just temporary, and you know that once you get motivated you’ll figure it all out.

15. Because you know you’re actually way more capable than you give yourself credit for

Junior year of college is often a turning point. You figure out what you really want to do with your life, and start to work directly toward a focused goal. Don’t be afraid of these mini-breakdowns throughout the year. They’re a necessary evil and they happen to the best of us. You’ll work it out, and look back on these worries with laughter—we promise.

Taylor is a Her Campus National Contributing Writer, a junior journalism/political science student at Ohio University and a fierce Pittsburgh Penguins fan. All she really wants in life is an endless supply of Diet Coke, an adorable studio apartment in Manhattan and for someone to talk with her about the latest season of Grey's Anatomy. She hopes to move to the city and work for a newspaper or magazine after graduation, but will be happy as long as she's putting some kind of words down on paper. Follow her on Twitter @taymaple.
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