The Fear of Senior Year

I have just finished my first week of my senior year of college. While I look forward to what will (hopefully) be a life without all-nighters and heart-pounding stress, I can’t deny the fear I feel every day about the end. The end of college is something that I am not ready for. Not because I have some perverse obsession with being young or re-living the “best years of my life-” it’s really the fear of knowing that I really am on my own after this. 

When I graduated from high school, I didn’t feel any fear. I was ready to start college. But I realize now that I wasn’t scared because I knew exactly what was going to happen. I knew I was going to go to Augie, I knew I was going to major in Neuroscience, and I knew I would be living at home. It’s different now that I’m graduating. There are so many paths I can take. I can work, I can go to graduate school, or I could take a gap year. 

I am so beyond thankful for the privilege and resources I have that allow me to have all of these options, and I will never consider having choices a burden. However, making any choice, big or small, always comes with the all encompassing thought, what if this is the wrong choice. I suppose I could always say to myself “so what?” and remind myself that mistakes can often be teaching moments. 

Those things are hard for me to say to myself. As a nervous and cautious perfectionist, things that don’t go according to plan are difficult to accept, and the fear of failure is always in the back of my mind. I’m sure there are many things that have caused this fear of failure, but it would be more helpful if I focused on how to get rid of it. 

I think there will always be a part of me that worries about failing, but as I get older and practice self-care, I am learning to trust myself. Being scared of the next step after college is probably frightening for a lot--if not all--seniors, but that fear comes from a place of insecurity. It comes from a part of your mind that tells you that you aren’t good enough and neither are your decisions. 

I’m here to tell you otherwise. Trust yourself. You have made this far, so why is it that you can’t go further? You have made big decisions before, and you can do it again. There is a societal obsession with success, and more so, quick success. In such situations, it is always best to remind yourself that you have time. It may not seem that way, especially with the fast approaching deadlines in college, but you have time. 

While using the time to come to a decision about what you want to do after college is a priority, don’t put it above yourself. Everything always begins with you, so you need to trust yourself. Trust that no matter what happens, you will find something for your future. Often we let our minds fill with “what ifs.” What if you trusted yourself? I’m not saying you need to be the most confident or make the best decision. You just have to tell yourself that you trust yourself with going forward; that whatever happens, you won’t look back on what could have been but what will be. 

So yes, senior year is scary, and the fear of what comes next is probably going to keep pestering you. Rest assured, that no matter what happens, you will be okay. The fear of failure will always be with you, but sometimes it’s best to not dwell on fear, but rather how you can make yourself feel a bit better about what’s to come.