Anxious Rambles From a Senior: What Comes Next?

I’m graduating this Spring, and I’d be lying if I said I’m not terrified. School has been the only thing I’ve known for the entirety of my life; circulating through the same cycle each year with little variation. I’ve been thinking about my future since I was a little girl. Questions about who I wanted to be when I grew up were drilled into my brain, and I was left to imagine what my impact would be on the world. Although my initial dreams of acting have shifted to writing words rather than speaking them on screen, I’m still not sure what I’ll be doing come graduation time. As a Type A planner, that terrifies me. I’m someone who is always three steps ahead of the game. I always have a plan, and if that one doesn’t work out, then I have a backup. Although I do try and leave room for spontaneity, I am someone who enjoys structure. It helps me remain productive. With this uncertainty of what’s to come, I’m worried I won’t be accepted for a job I’m passionate about. I feel like there’s so much to figure out still, and it’s all so overwhelming. As much as I wish I could make it all slow down so that I can collect my bearings and strategically plan out my next move, that’s not the case. Time is passing, which means there’s not a lot of extra time to lay in bed and cry along to Taylor Swift’s “Fifteen;” a time when everything seemed so simple.

Admittedly, I know that it’s important to be graceful with myself. Stressing about finding my “dream job” creates a lot of unnecessary pressure that could deter me from enjoying my last moments as an undergraduate. Despite it being in my nature to worry, I’m practicing self-care by scheduling out my time to research job opportunities and potential graduate schools (it never hurts to look). I think so many of us seniors struggle with this crippling fear that if we don’t secure a job right away then we’re doomed. The best thing to do is be patient with yourself and trust that the hard work you’ve put into these past 3-4 years was not for nothing. You are a capable individual, who when coupled with hard work can accomplish anything you set your mind to. Don’t be discouraged if you’re struggling more than you thought you would. The right opportunity will come to you so long as you keep yourself open to all possibilities.

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When I really think about it, a deep-seated truth that always remains is that writing is my passion. It’s as natural as breathing. It’s how I come to understand the world around me. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else, but this irrational part of me is worried that I won’t find what I’m looking for in a job. Ultimately, I want to be an author and write for a multitude of publications, but what if no one accepts my writing? I can remain unbothered by people not liking my fiction pieces. Each person has their own tastes, and I want a community of readers who enjoy my writing, but what if no one wants to hire or publish me? These are all ill-natured thoughts fueled by fear, and my anxiety has them rumbling around my head like bulky towels in the dryer. I want to feel confident in what I do. With eight months left until graduation, I’m hoping that somewhere along the way this semester I find clarity and opportunity to pursue my passions.

It’s the only way I’m able to really heal; writing. It centers me, puts things into perspective and shows me what I’m really thinking, even if I won’t subconsciously allow myself to come to a decision in my head. I’m forced to tell the truth on paper, otherwise, it makes the entire craft seem fake. Artificial. Ingenuine. And writing for me has been anything but. This is who I am. And although I’m faced with uncertainty, sick with fear about where this path will take me, I know that this is the only choice I can make. There’s nothing more that I want in this world than to share my stories and to tell the truth. I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I’m sure it won’t be boring.