It has hit that point in the semester — you know how this story goes. It’s late Sunday night, and Tom Brady and the New England Patriots have just won yet another game on Primetime football. You just finished up your last “unhealthy” meal of the week, because as we all say, “my diet starts tomorrow,” and the laundry that has been piled high for the last seven days finally gets thrown in the washer. At this point in the year, everyone is counting down the days until Thanksgiving break.
Everyone looks forward to the weekend. It’s a time to relax and unwind from the stresses that have built up all week. Weekends are for football, family, friends and fun — or, as I refer to it, “the four Fs.” We look forward to the weekend every week because it is finally a break from the craziness of life, and yet every Sunday night we find ourselves cramming, worrying about the work that is coming in the next five days.
If you are a student, you are probably starting a 10-page paper that is due bright and early Monday morning, and if you are an adult, well, it’s yet another five days of 9 to 5 work. Life turns into a cycle, and slowly but surely days turn into weeks, and weeks turn into months. We lose track of time without even realizing it. Yet, even when weeks start to run together, we still have the same feeling every Sunday night — stress. As a college senior, this stress is amplified.
Midway through senior year of college the anxiety and panic really amplifies. The process of searching for a job begins, with the hopes that post-graduation employment will be lined up. There are decisions on where to live post-graduation, who to live with and the feasibility of affording student loans and ordinary expenses, because realistically no one wants to move home after college even though many are forced to.
For the past 16 years of our lives, there has always been another school year to look forward to — the picture was already painted for us. Now, the future is a mystery and in just a few months, we are headed into the “real world,” and with the real world comes responsibilities and stresses that we have never been faced with before in our 21-year-old lives.
When you are 18 and decide to attend a college or university with a massive price tag, you are too young to realize the impact that student loans are going to have on your life four years later. Personally, taking out loans at the age of 18 felt like attending college for free, but now just a few months away from college graduation, I realize why college seniors have anxiety over obtaining full-time employment: finances.
Does my career choice support me financially? Will I be able to pay off my student debt in five, 10 or even 15 years? Does it make sense for me to take on larger student loan payments or should I start saving funds for retirement? This is just the tip of the iceberg and I haven’t even considered how I will get to work without owning a car.
From my perspective, I have spent countless amounts of time and money for a diploma that helps me start the journey of life. It allows me to pay off my debt, purchase a car and save for retirement — or at least I can hope. I don’t know much about what my future may hold, but what I do know is that I am not the first 21-year-old woman graduating from college with the fear of the unknown, and I definitely am not going to be the last. I have watched plenty of people before me enter postgraduate years and figure their path out, so my hope is that I, as well as my fellow frightened senior classmates, will find our way as well.
Every senior goes through this process, it’s inevitable — the feeling of doubt and insecurity of what the future will hold. Often I find myself run down and sick to my stomach because the anxieties of making it post graduation have taken their toll.
This is a time in your life when you are not completely sure of what is next and how exactly you are going to get there. It is a time when you are unsure of how you’re going to pay for your apartment, groceries, or even a drink at a baseball game. It literally makes you queasy just pondering it.
However, as I have been told, there is no better way to learn than being thrown into the fire. So, I guess this chapter of life will be full of great decisions and an abundance of terrible ones to balance it out. It is a chapter of trial and error and if we are lucky we might just get the hang of it. Someday we can let go of the insecurities of “Sundays,” and embrace the “Monday” feeling.