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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCSB chapter.

To all my fellow seniors, it’s our final quarter here at UCSB (unless you’re taking summer classes like me…), and there are only ten weeks left until we throw our caps in the air to celebrate this huge accomplishment. Typing this out made my heart hurt a bit…where has all the time gone? Just a week ago I picked up my cap and gown. My roommates and I played dress-up and got teary-eyed thinking about how little time we have left together.

With graduation rapidly approaching, it can be scary to step into this next chapter of our lives. It’s almost time to interview for big girl jobs and start our adult lives, for real this time. No more running around Isla Vista in itty bitty bikinis with your roommates or cramming at the library for finals during dead week (that part I won’t miss). 

The most dreaded question of all time — “What are your plans after graduation?” — can be quite daunting. My typical response is the truth: I have no actual plans. Even after spending sixteen years as a student, I still don’t know exactly what I want to do after school. There are so many things I want to do in my lifetime that I struggle to find and choose a career path. 

My wonderful big, Maddie Jani, graduated from UCSB last year and I asked her for some post-grad advice. Maddie has dedicated the majority of her time since graduation to her jewelry business, Tanline Designs (if you’re in need of some cute new jewelry that won’t tarnish, check out her website!) Maddie is someone whom I look up to and have learned a lot from.

When I asked her about the transition after graduation, she said it was pretty tough at first. Maddie, like many others, compared herself to fellow graduates who were already working “big adult jobs” soon after getting their degrees. However, she said, “I ended up talking to them and they hate it. I realized the success doesn’t lie within your title but your enjoyment of your position.”

Maddie added, “That helped me get over my fear of post-grad and just do what I actually love and push myself to be the best at what I wanted to do even if I wasn’t using my degree.” 

Maddie has always inspired me to be the best version of myself and I’m so happy I have someone like her to look up to. As a senior, it’s scary thinking about life after UCSB, but with this wise advice, I have a more positive outlook. 

Imagine the freedom we’ll soon have once we walk across that stage and get handed our well-earned diplomas. No more final exams, no more essays, and no more ten-page research assignments. The world is truly ours. We have the freedom to go wherever we want, try new things, meet new people, and see for ourselves what life is all about. 

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Original Illustration Designed in Canva for Her Campus Media

When it first hit me I was actually graduating, I totally freaked out. I felt extremely overwhelmed with all the possibilities of how my life could be after I leave UCSB, but now my post-grad mindset has shifted to a more optimistic approach. 

Instead of feeling overwhelmed, I now feel excited for the freedom I will soon have. We are so young — we have the rest of our lives to figure it all out. Maddie also told me that she thinks it’s really after college where you “find” yourself. Our time here at UCSB is such a small chapter in our lives. There is so much more the world has to offer. 

Lastly, congratulations to all my fellow seniors. We’re so close to graduation and I’m extremely proud of my roommates, my fellow interns, my friends, my coworkers, and all the other senior Gauchos out there. Let’s finish spring quarter strong! We got this!

Hi, I'm Erin! I am a fourth year film and media studies student here at UCSB. I'm originally from northern California but moved to Wyoming last summer. When I'm not busy with schoolwork or my part-time retail job, I enjoy thrifting, film photography, and journaling. I'm stoked to be an editorial intern for Her Campus and can't wait for what's to come this year.