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Beyond the Campus Gates: Confronting Post-College Fears

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 Stevens chapter.

As a college senior, it feels like I’ve been going through a quarter-life crisis for the past few
months (or maybe more). Just the thought of time passing makes me anxious, as I am getting
closer and closer to graduation and can’t do anything to stop it. It feels wrong to dread this point,
as graduation should be a reason to celebrate, but beneath this celebratory surface lies an
existential dilemma that gnaws at my very core — the overwhelming uncertainty of what comes
Throughout my time at Stevens, it felt like everything was almost planned out for me: I had a
specific academic plan to follow and friendships were easily formed as everyone was always
around. The structured environment of academia provided this reassuring cocoon that sheltered
me from the existential questions that now incessantly loom in my head as I struggle to form my
own identity. The ever present question of “Who am I without the protective embrace of
college?” lingers in my brain and the anxiety that accompanies it mirrors the existentialist
struggle described by philosopher Jean-Paul Satre – the burden of freedom and the
responsibility to define oneself. The anxiety of post-college life arises from the realization that
the institutional identity I once held is fading. I must now build a new identity, select my own
path, and shape my values and beliefs. This journey, though liberating, can be profoundly
disorienting. It’s like being cast into the vast cosmos without a map or a guiding star.
But don’t get me wrong: after spending the past four years in the same small college campus, I
am definitely ready to move out of this bubble. However, freedom is a double-edged sword; the
more options I have, the more daunting my choices become. This paradox of choice often leads
to decision paralysis, where I am overwhelmed by the myriad of options and the fear of making
wrong decisions. Anxiety sets in as I grapple with the uncertainty, fear of missed opportunities,
and the pressure of societal expectations. The weight of freedom becomes suffocating, and I
occasionally yearn for the simplicity of the structured college life, despite how suffocating it may
One of my main fears is about the dreaded job search. As a computer engineering major, I
enjoy the versatility of my major, but the quest for purpose in this expansive realm of opportunity
can feel overwhelming, with each specialization and career path leading to a different purpose
and array of opportunities. The diversity within the field, from artificial intelligence to embedded
systems to software engineering, is both liberating and daunting, as choosing the right trajectory
can be paralyzing. This existential journey is not just about job titles but about defining who I am
and what I wish to contribute to the ever-evolving landscape of technology. It’s a continuous
process of self-discovery and adaptation, acknowledging that purpose is not a fixed endpoint
but an evolving narrative shaped by experiences, passions, and values.
Rather than succumbing to the weight of post-college anxiety, I’ve learned to view it as an
opportunity for self-discovery and personal growth. Instead of just viewing graduation as just the
end of an era, it can also be seen as the beginning of a new, uncharted adventure. It’s an

opportunity to try new things, make new choices, and find my purpose in the word. As I step into
this abyss of uncertainty, I have to remind myself that it’s not a void to be feared but a blank
canvas ready to be painted.

Janet is a 4/4 Computer Engineering major at Stevens Institute of Technology. Her interests include art, photography, and literature, and in her free time she likes to read, bake, and hang out with friends!