Graduation is Coming...What's Next?

It’s that time of year again. Spring midterms are quickly passing by and finals are sneaking up faster than we’d like them to. Usually, I am wishing that the last couple of weeks of spring quarter will fly by so that finals can be a thing of the past and I can get on with my summer; spending hours soaking up the summer sun, frolicking in the beautiful Santa Barbara wildflower fields, gliding my paddle board through the salty water, and most importantly, being able to turn study-mode off for a while.

However, this year is different. Currently I am a senior college student in the midst of my spring quarter; my last college quarter. These past couple of weeks have been filled with anxious emotions and bittersweet moments. I am finding that I am at a crossroads between feeling enthusiastic about the new adventures and learning experiences that await outside of the University of California, Santa Barbara’s (UCSB’s) lecture halls, and feeling anxious about leaving behind the only “profession” of a student that I’ve known for the past sixteen years.

No more six to eight hour days studying in the library buzzed off of one to many Yerba Mattes. No more scrambling to get to the printing lab before the in-between-classes “rush hour” to print out my final essay when my printer decides to break the night before. No more nerve-wracking exam days. No more worrying about courses filling up before my registration date. No more waiting in the hour long line at the college of letters and sciences advising office during the first week of the quarter to make sure that all of my courses are working to fulfill my degree.

I keep oscillating back and forth daily between feelings of eager excitement to finally get to explore professional working environments and apply all of the knowledge that I have learned throughout college, and feelings of complete fear leaving behind the academic scene that I am ever so familiar with.

What if I don’t know enough to work in the real world? I mean I know I will have a bachelor’s degree in psychology as well as a minor in professional writing and multimedia communications, and that counts for something… but what if I don’t know enough about the real world?

However, as I am hanging up my graduation gown to let the wrinkles fall before the big day, and as I am receiving proofs of my graduation pictures, I am becoming more and more confident in everything that I have learned throughout these last sixteen years of my career as a student.

This is what we have been working towards for basically our whole lives. Those long days in the library; those stressful times in the printing lab when the line is wrapped around the building and your final paper is due in ten minutes; those long, caffeine filled nights during finals week; the scrambling to log onto the registration site to get the last spot left in the lab you need to graduate.

I am starting to accept the fact that it is okay to fear the unknown of the “after-college abyss.” I am realizing that this is real life. Applying to jobs is scary. Not knowing what kind of position you are going to acquire calls for a bit of unease. Being a bit anxious about what the future holds is okay, however I am recognizing that taking the time to put in a significant effort to do some research, tweak my resume, and create cover letters is allowing for the anxiety to subside and the excitement to take hold of my emotions.

Image Via Giphy