THE SANTA CLARA
November 7, 2013
Every year, college seniors have a unique experience.
We’re the big men on campus, the top of the undergraduates.
Since many of us don’t have to overload anymore, we get to blow off homework in favor of a spontaneous party without feeling guilty. And we can chalk it all up to the fact that by this time next year, we’ll be gone.
Then reality comes crashing down.
We come to understand what senior year is truly about: working harder than ever in class to achieve a higher GPA, writing and rewriting our resumes, applying to graduate school, searching endlessly for a job, figuring out how to pay our own bills or simply trying to answer the daunting question of “What do you plan to do after graduation?”
Well, the answer for quite a few of us is simple: We don’t know.
Every day since kindergarten, we’ve known that we’re supposed to go to school, do homework, take summer off and repeat it all again.
Now, that routine is almost over. What comes next is unclear.
There is constant pressure on seniors to immediately know exactly what we’re going to do for the rest of our lives.
This never-ending identity crisis looms over our heads as graduation nears. With June rapidly approaching, the answers about our futures are still unknowable.
There is a common belief that you’re supposed to go right from college into the workplace, start a career and be an adult. But it’s not that easy, and I don’t think it needs to happen that quickly.
There’s no shame in moving home, taking your time and growing up slowly.
College, for many of us, is the last four years of our educational experience, and I believe that those four years are vastly important.
As long as we take these years to learn, grow, make firm our values, make good choices, bad choices and everything in between, then we are as prepared — if not more prepared — than those with a solid job already set up for after graduation.
The life lessons we learn here, the experiences we have and the people we become are what will take us far in our futures — not the length of our resumes.
Post-graduation pressure may even trickle all the way down to younger students.
Unlike the seniors, the rest of the undergraduates have time to enjoy Santa Clara before they have to leave.
Make the most of it. Look toward senior year with excitement and anticipation, as it’s not necessary to focus on life after college yet.
Perhaps seniors should also keep this in mind.
So what if we spend the first day after graduation doing nothing of long-term consequence? We can afford to take the time to reflect on our college lives, and then look for a job the next day. Or the next week. Or even the next month.
That’s what the rest of our lives is for, after all.
Think back to who you were on the first day of freshman year. At 18, we didn’t know what was going on, or what life had in store for us. Now, four years later, we have grown so much.
Translate that amount of change to the next four years — when we’re 25 — and imagine where we’ll be. There is every reason to think that it will be just as great as our college years.
Being a senior is frightening at times. It can be lonely and stressful, but it’s also exciting and liberating.
If you feel that panic erupt inside you as graduation gets closer, just know that the seniors are all in this together, and it will be okay. We will grow up, find jobs, get married, have careers and make great lives for ourselves — there’s no rush.
Alexandra Armas is a senior communication major.