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IDK About You, But I’m Feeling 22: How I’m Managing the Senior Blues

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

I’m 22 and I’m in limbo, somewhere between adolescence and adulthood, between feeling everything and nothing at all, and having answers for some things but not for others. Sure, everyone says your 20s are complicated, but this is a little more than I bargained for.

Like most college seniors, lately I’ve been feeling the weight of graduation and all the pressure that comes with it. On one hand, I’m excited to graduate and see what happens in this next chapter, but on the other hand, I’m scared about all the unknowns. I’m worried about growing out of my youth and no longer having the freedom to just be a kid, which I still feel like sometimes. Even though I’m trying to live in the moment and enjoy these last few months, I’m still constantly aware that my experience as a college student is ending, that I’ll never get these years back, that I’ll miss my friends — and then I feel even more overwhelmed. I’m Wendy begging Peter Pan to take her to Neverland where she never has to grow up. “Second star to the right and straight on till morning,” and I’ll be there.

The problem is, I just did this. Wasn’t I just a high school senior, still undecided about which college I’d attend, scared to leave home and make new friends, full of uncertainty and anxiety about the future? Wasn’t I just a college freshman, forced to return home during a pandemic, when no one knew how COVID would affect our future world? Wasn’t I just leaving for my semester abroad, where I was frightened of living in a foreign country, completely in the dark as to what to expect? I’m tired of not knowing, and the current state of our world makes it almost impossible to stay positive about life post-grad.

So, does it ever get easier? Hopefully, yes. But for now, I’ve been trying to change my mindset to think more positively about the future, despite all the depressing aspects of graduation that have been weighing me down.

Yes, I have spent the last four to five years in a constant state of uncertainty, and it’s been extremely difficult, but it’s also been extremely rewarding. When I look back over the last few years, I realize that I have overcome every challenge that’s come my way. Going to college as a freshman was intimidating, but I eventually adjusted and made lifelong friends. The pandemic was a scary period, but I gained a new perspective on the world. Studying abroad had its challenges but it easily changed my life for the better. Out of every daunting experience, something beautiful has grown from it, and I have to believe that the same thing will happen after graduation.

It’s perfectly fine to mourn this chapter of your life, to feel sad about it ending, and nervous about the future, but it’s important to remember that your life is not over at 22. In fact, it’s just beginning. It bothers me when I hear people say, “College is the best years of your life, it’s only downhill from here,” as if it’s impossible to be fulfilled post-grad. I have so much more life to live even if I don’t have it all figured out yet. Who is anyone else to tell me what my life will or won’t be?

Of course, graduating can be intimidating, but I’ve found that the scariest things often produce the most rewarding results. There’s so much waiting for me out there, so many wonderful experiences I haven’t had yet, so many places begging to be explored, and even more amazing people to meet.

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Isabelle Gross

U Mass Amherst '23

Isabelle is a senior at UMass Amherst and a New Yorker at heart. She majors in French Studies with a minor in Linguistics. Her interests include (but are not limited to) reading, writing, and traveling. She hopes to help create a world of acceptance and kindness through storytelling.