The “Real World” is Coming and College Seniors Are Freaking Out

Ever ask a college senior what their plans are for the future? They should have their lives already figured out, right? If you were to actually pay attention to their body language of a graduating senior after asking that question, you can see they are radiating with fear. Why is that?
“With term papers completed, final exams graded and diplomas in hand, graduation can be an exciting time for college students. However, with the economy looking more like a rollercoaster and less like smooth sailing, it is understandable that many recent graduates may be anxious about starting their life in the ‘real world’.” This is a quote from the American Psychological Association article about college seniors and their anxieties about graduation.
Is there any wonder why college seniors are so nervous about leaving the place that has been their home for the past four years and move into this new and scary domain called the real world?
“There’s a stigma that says, if you’re not working or going to school, then you’re not contributing to the greater advancement of our society, and that’s obviously frowned upon. So if a senior graduates without a plan, they’re definitely going to be stigmatized for that, which is terrifying,” said Jordan Bennett, a senior at Emory & Henry College.
Bennett is not alone in his fear of this great unknown. Megan Henderson, a recent graduate of E&H, was anxious about the “real world” like many others out there. “The one thing that worried me about post grad life was my student loans. You have to do exit counseling for them and the whole process is really nerve wracking.”
Students are worries and continue to worry and stress over what the “real world” hold for them. What are they supposed to be doing? When will they know? What if they don’t get their dream job right away? What if they don’t know what their dream job is?
Senior Lauren Sapp, is feeling the pressure too but knows that it’s okay to worry. “I definitely feel pressure about figuring out my future, and right now I’m honestly not handling it the best. I’ve had several people tell me that it’s okay not to know the answers to everything right now. It’s okay to just take things day by day and see what happens,” said Sapp.
But don’t worry seniors, there is help out there! College seniors for generations have been struggling with this idea of what to do in the future. But here’s the thing, it’s okay not to know! “The real world for me right now is kind of a stepping stone. I’m not where I want to be, mostly because I’m not sure where I want to be yet, I just know this isn’t it,” said Henderson.

– Kelsey Hubbard

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