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I’m Graduating and I’m Terrified

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

June is quickly approaching and I will be graduating from college. Since I started my academic career, I've always envisioned my college graduation as an incredibly exhilarating and transformative moment in my life, a moment where I would feel proud and complete. In reality, as college comes to a close I find myself experiencing an array of different emotions—some pleasant, and some not so pleasant. With my emotions running high, I've been reminiscing, questioning what is to happen to my identity, and feeling regretful about some of my time throughout college. With these recent feelings, I've come to the conclusion that I think I am terrified to graduate from college. 


As my graduation approaches, I find myself reminiscing about my time as a student at UCSB. Largely, I've been thinking about the wonderful people that I've met, the relationships I've built, the relationships I've lost, and what I've learned about myself as a young woman. Reflecting about the people and relationships I’ve built throughout college, I also wonder what is to come of them in the future. Will I ever see them ever again? Will our connections deteriorate? Or will these relationships continue to grow and flourish? These are the overwhelming questions that I've been asking myself recently, and to say that they haven’t contributed to my fear of graduating would simply be untrue. 


Since I can remember, I’ve always been a student. Thus far, my life has been organized around my educational priorities. Therefore, being a pupil is a large part of my identity. Throughout these seemingly short four years, I’ve gained an incredible amount of valuable knowledge through countless hours of studying. As a result, what I’ve learned has not only shaped a vast majority of my worldview, but culminated my identity to a high degree.    

When I graduate, I won’t have the same privileges to access the information that I currently have, so I wonder how I’ll continue to expand my knowledge to its fullest extent. Further, my identity as a student will be in the past, and I’ll  be forced to transition into a new phase of my life—a phase that is unknown to me. In short, the closer I get to graduation, I feel as though I’m slowly mourning parts of my identity as a pupil.  


Lastly, I can’t help but feel as though there are many things that I should have done throughout my time in college. Admittedly, despite having dealt with the tribulations of attending college during a global pandemic, I’m fearful of having regrets post-graduation. Perhaps I should have joined more clubs, attended more events, or applied to more internships. Maybe I could have gone to the beach more often in Isla Vista when I had free time, or even utilized the facilities and resources on campus as much as possible. There are many things that I feel as though I could have done differently, and now I only have three months left until graduation. 

There are many implications that come along with graduating from college that can induce certain fears. The number one thing that seems to make graduating so terrifying is the fear of the unknown post-graduation. I have no plan or job lined up for me after college. As someone whose life has been so organized and routine for the past four years, this is especially terrifying.

Truthfully, I think that it is okay to not have my life in complete order post-graduation, and this is something that I’ve had to come to terms with. I continuously have to remind myself that college is just a short chapter in my life and that my future will be fine. As of now, all I can do is hope for the best and try to enjoy the remaining time that I have as a student at UCSB.

Hello there, my name is Jolene Cuevas and I’m from Santa Cruz, California! I’m a senior at the University of California Santa Barbara majoring in Communication. I’m a first generation college student who has an interest in writing, media, and marketing. I am passionate about women’s rights, women’s education, and women’s health. In the future, I hope to find a career that allows me to work in the areas that I am passionate about in a creative and collaborative way. In my free time, I enjoy learning about astrology, spending time with friends, doing karaoke, and exercising!
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