The Senior Freak-Out: How To Deal

T-minus one semester.

The countdown to graduation has begun: you’ve started saying things like, “This is the last first day of school!” and “This is my last midterm!” or “This will be my last spring break vacation EVER!” It's definitely a bittersweet feeling because, well, who doesn’t want the continuous comfort of college life? Yet, after years of attending classes, you are more than ready to book it to the finish line. The only problem is, you have no idea how to function without your “student” title once you throw that hat in the air. At this point, graduation certainly seems far away but that still hasn’t stopped you from having an occasional panic attack here and there.  

Freaking out yet? We thought so. Attention Class of 2013: take a breather because Her Campus has your back.

Your homework days are numbered.

Rebekah Meiser, recent Ohio University graduate, said, “In many ways I felt ready to be done with school, stop attending classes and finally have a salary. At the same time, I was terrified I would't find a job, would struggle to pay my bills and school loans, or would lose touch with the amazing people I spent the past four years getting to know and love.”

Unfortunately, senior freak-outs about life after college will occur regardless, but there are ways to deal with the hyperventilating sessions and sleepless nights. Read on to pinpoint what’s behind your senior stress, and how to feel a bit more relaxed.

Why you’re stressed: You don’t have a job

Like most seniors, you’re probably unsure of your employment following graduation, and therefore uneasy about your future finances. The question still lingers, will you even be able to find a job in this dismal economy? Relax, eventually you will.

“I am currently freaking out about having no idea what my plans are and how to make a decision,” said Niki Derosia, a senior at Western State College. “Trying to predict the future of the job market, grad school and my relationship with my boyfriend is driving me insane.”

It is perfectly normal to feel panicky and a bit anxious over what is to come over the next few months, but it is important to remember that there are other alternatives that are available after graduation. Although it is often expected that you’ll get hired immediately, finding a job sometimes takes longer than expected.

“It helps to remember that finding a job after college is just that—finding a job,” said Kathy Brock, the Assistant Director of Mental Health Services at Washington University in St. Louis. “If that job isn’t perfect or perfectly suited for you, there will be others. And if you can’t find a job right away, you will likely find a way to make things work until you do.”

Renee Welch, the Associate Direct at the Colorado State University Career Center, gives her tips on what to do if finding a job is your biggest concern.

  • Go to Career Services. Not sure where to start with the job search? By talking with a career counselor at your school you can get a better idea of what to do first. A career counselor can look over your resume and cover letter and provide you with the appropriate resources to search job markets.
  • Start networking. Remember all those internships you spent volunteering your time summer after summer and semester after semester? You never know, perhaps your old internship may be your new job! Read the Her Campus article on how to keep in touch with contacts from previous internships.
  • Have a realistic idea of how long it will take you to job search. Depending on the industry you are trying to get into, companies advertise jobs that they need filled within a few weeks after posting.
  • Think about your search criteria (industry, occupation and geography) and determine which part of your criteria may be more flexible. You might be able to increase the amount of job opportunities available to you if you are willing to relocate, for example.
  • Establish a backup plan (how will you adapt if Plan A doesn’t work out?). Maybe you want to take this time to de-stress from school. We know getting your dream job as soon as you graduate is your ideal situation, but if that doesn’t work out immediately (and if you have the extra money), go abroad!