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A Graduating Senior’s Thoughts on Post-Grad Life

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

The cap and gown are ordered, the grad pictures are scheduled, the hotels are booked for families' arrival for that weekend in May. All that's left is to do is finish the semester strong and count down the days until I cross the stage. Honestly, I don't think you realize how fast senior year and the thought of graduation comes until you're actually here, the last four years flew by and this era of my life will soon come to an end. I think the thought of graduating from college is equally as terrifying as it is exciting for me. Of course, I'm excited to start a new chapter of my life, but at the same time not knowing what's ahead is definitely anxiety-inducing, but that's part of the fun in life, not knowing what's next.

I'd like to say I have everything figured out and I know exactly what's going to happen after graduation, but to be very honest, that couldn't be further from the truth. I feel like there's a lot of pressure on college seniors and new graduates to have this perfect plan mapped out for their life and what's ahead, to jump in head-first into the "real world," but not everyone works like that, and that's okay. Realistically there are two options after college, you move out and live on your own or you move back home, potentially to the bedroom you grew up in.

I've made the financial decision to move back home with my parents post-grad to save up some money, which I'm currently having very mixed feelings about. It's hard when college has brought you so much freedom, only to have some of that ripped away at the end. Getting through the humps of living in your first college apartment with your best friends and navigating all the firsts that come with that, just to go back home is a very strange feeling. Don't get me wrong I love my childhood home and my parents with all my heart, but it's a weird feeling having to go back and live somewhere that you've only ever called "home" for three months out of the year for the past few years.

Besides that, having to search for my first "big-girl job" is quite a unique experience. Up to this point, I've only ever worked part-time retail jobs, so searching for my first full-time job is a very humbling process. I'm honestly pretty confident that I'll end up finding a job with my degree, but having to work a job that I don't enjoy is what scares me. I'm the type of person who likes routine and change is definitely hard for me, so entering this new world of work that I've never seen before is kind of stressful, but I know with time it will get easier as I learn to navigate this new era of my life.

Despite all these new experiences and challenges that are coming, I'm honestly really excited to graduate. For the majority of my life, like any other student, school is all I've ever known. And let me just say, I'm ready for that part to be over, to say I'm burnt out from school work is an understatement. Part of the excitement of life is not knowing what's next and getting to watch your life form right in front of you, no one else controls it besides yourself so you really just have to make the best of it regardless of the situation. Although I know graduating college is the end of a huge era, I find peace in knowing I've already made it this far and I know I will accomplish what I put my heart to in the future.

If you're a college senior, or anywhere near it, and you're starting to feel anxiety about post-grad life, rest assured that this feeling is completely normal. I've been dealing with the emotions of eventually graduating since the first day of senior year, and now when it's basically two months out I've learned that this does not need to be as scary as I'm making myself believe it is. Sure, it's stressful and nerve-wracking because college life has been the norm for a while now, but it's also the kickstart to what life is going to bring you next. Life is full of change. It's how you grow and evolve into the next version of yourself and experience the next stages of life, so embracing that is really the only thing you can do.

Carley Stone

Illinois State '22

Hi! My name is Carley and I'm a senior at Illinois State majoring in Journalism with a minor in Sociology. In my free time I love working out, hanging out with friends and family and shopping! I also love writing and I am so excited to be a part of Her Campus :) follow my ig! @carleystone_
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