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

I’m sure if you’re graduating this spring, you’ve had countless people ask you about what your plans are for graduation, how you liked your time at college, or what your plans for the future are.

And if you’re anything like me, you absolutely despise those questions. 

At 18 years old, I was prepared to take on the world as a college freshman. I was part of the class of 2020, and had yet to experience so much of the world that I felt excited to step toward a new beginning. I had a long four years of schooling left until I became a real adult, and thus four years to mature, grow as a person, learn what a 401k is, and all that fun stuff. 

Back then I felt like I had time. Now, four years later, I’m 22 years old and no closer to becoming the adult that I had imagined in my head all these years. Sure, I’ve grown as a person and matured greatly from the freshman that first walked through the halls of GRC in 2020, but there’s never been that ah-ha feeling — the kind of eureka, light-bulb over your head moment where suddenly it’s your 21st birthday and you now understand how taxes work and how to invest your money properly.

Unfortunately, life does not work in carefully calculated eureka moments. Real life is a bit more complicated than that with ups and downs like a rollercoaster — forcing us to take steps back, forward and then back again in order to learn tough lessons. Not all battles are created equal, and there’s a reason that your classmate from two years ago dropped out, or why someone is graduating a year or two behind. 

I think it’s only natural that graduating seniors are terrified of graduation and the future. While it’s definitely exciting to be done with school and what comes with it — the stress, the anxiety, the fear — it also provides a sense of comfort in its stability and knowing it will be there. 

We start school from the ripe age of five years old and never turn back or think of anything else. Our school life for almost two decades is coming to an end, and people think you’re only supposed to feel one way or another about it, but the truth is that human emotions are so complex. It’s like saying goodbye to an old friend, but also saying hello to a new unknown one that feels daunting and nearly impossible: adulthood and the workforce. 

For those of you who are panicking or feel an impending sense of doom following you towards graduation, you’re not the only one. Everyone else is just good at hiding their panic, even if they’re the most job-secure, emotionally healthy people you may know. Life beyond college is terrifying to anyone, but I encourage you to feel the freedom and possibilities of what is to come. 

I hope four years from now, I don’t feel like more of an adult. I hope I feel fulfilled and ready to look back on my graduating self and laugh at all the worrying and crying and panicking. I hope I keep looking forward to the future, even if it’s terrifying.

Courtney Te is a Graphic Design major and a Psychology minor at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is passionate about animals, writing and graphic design.