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The Scary Uncertainty of Being in My Last Year of University

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Queen's U chapter.

After experiencing the most chaotic conditions to undertake my undergraduate degree during the pandemic, it has come to the fourth and final year of my career as a student. It’s a bizarre fact to realize really, that after what has felt like 40 years and 4 seconds all at once is finally coming to an end and I am about to take my next steps into adulthood.

It’s pretty cliche to look back at everything that’s happened so far and feel nostalgic for the days when things were easier as a new milestone approached. The most popular coming-of-age movies feature plots where the main character is struggling with the fact that a massive change in their life is drawing near, and oftentimes this change is school-related. I’ve adored these movies all my life, idolized them and their main characters—the courage and bravery to stand their ground amidst such uncertainty and persevere. It is now my turn to be one of those characters I admire so much and take my next steps, only now that I’m at that stage, I cannot for the life of me understand how they overcame their worries and pushed forward.

All of these concerns plague my thoughts constantly. This final year for me is no longer consumed by the stress of classes alone, but with the added bonus of worrying about what will happen to me when I graduate. Sometimes it’s a dull ache of a worry that sits at the back of my head, not too consuming but still apparent nonetheless. Other times it’s terrifying and I can’t help but feel like a small helpless child. I know I’m not alone in this. That many others in my position or even in a completely different facet of their life experience this at one point or another. Instead of feeling comforted by that fact, I find myself feeling more scared than ever. What do we do with that?

We’ve heard it over and over again—how COVID has damaged the economy and made it about a million times harder for young people to get jobs and make a living, let alone succeed in this world. Even after hearing it constantly, is that not still the scariest thing you’ve ever heard? I’ve been working my butt off these past 3 years. That doesn’t even include high school and everything before that, where I had the firm belief that once I got my degree I would be secure and on the fast track to getting a job and living a good life. Now I find out that my degree no longer guarantees anything and when I’m handed that diploma, I will be thrown into the big scary dog-eat-dog world where I’ll be fighting to get a job. Call me cynical, but that pretty much hits the nail on the head. 

Every time I try to answer that question I come to the realization that there really is nothing to stop feeling this way. There’s no magic button or word that will lift this stress off my shoulders or make me suddenly feel like I can take over the world. As much as I can try to distract or encourage myself, I know this feeling is a part of life and experiencing it is not something I can avoid, since this probably won’t be the last time I feel this way. So, I just have to deal with it. I’ll accept it now while I’m calm and collected, and cry and freak out when I don’t feel so mild-tempered, and repeat that cycle. There is nothing I can do about that. 

What I can control, however, is how this last year goes and how I spend every moment. I can go to some classes, skip others, hang out with my friends, try new things, and do whatever I can to make sure I enjoy this final year. The future will remain uncertain and nothing I say or do can slow down time, so until then I will just focus on getting through day-by-day.

Vanessa Ellia

Queen's U '23

Fourth Year Political Science Major, History Minor. Writer. Pisces.