Upcoming graduation can be an overwhelming experience for another batch of seniors

Published by adviser, Author: Michael Santoro - Observation Station, Date: February 28, 2013

If there’s one thing that has the propensity to scare, excite and overwhelm a college student, it would be graduation. For many of us seniors, this can be quite a stressful time. Getting everything ready for graduation itself, checking our DARS reports, making sure we’re doing well in our classes, applying for “real world/big people” jobs; the list goes on and on. I never thought my four years would run by so quickly. I thought I would have all the time in the world to complete everything, then you actually start a semester. In what feels like only a few weeks, we’re done and moving into another break.

Why is graduation so scary, though? For me, it’s always the “what’s next.” Ever since we were kids there’s always been something we had to do, and something we have to do after that, etc. With every new step we take, I think a little anxiety creeps in. It’s natural. I remember graduating from high school, knowing that in a few short months I was going to experience what everyone had been pushing me towards: college. I was a little worried, as even though I had been told what to expect, I personally didn’t know exactly what to expect. Same thing happened when we went from middle school to high school. I’m not sure what this concept is referred to as, but I’ll call it the “next step blues.”

Some people completely skip over the “next step blues” and transition smoothly into their next phase of life. I have a little jealously for these people. I wish I was able to keep as level of a head and power through whatever negative emotion I was feeling. For these type of people, graduation is exciting. They finally get to apply all of the skills they have learned over their four or maybe more years. Plunged into the workforce, they finally get their hands dirty with some real work. I have to say that it pretty exciting.  Knowing that you just earned a degree that can’t be taken away is a big deal. You just completed higher education, and that degree can’t be nullified.

Whichever route your taking as graduation approaches, I bet being even the tiniest bit overwhelmed comes into play. That can work wonders for some people, if you can believe that. Working under pressure and stress helps motivate and forces them to grab the reins on everything. Unfortunately some people crack under the pressure, yet I believe most of these people recover quickly. Pressure and stress actually helps me. I like knowing that what I’m doing is important enough to overwhelm me, even in the smallest of amounts. It makes me look at every part of what I’m doing in a serious light, and helps to prioritize things in my life.

What I want to leave you with is a simple, and possibly silly, request: between all the stress, excitement, and seemingly overwhelming aspects of graduation, be happy! As I said earlier, you earned a degree. That takes a lot of time, patience, and mainly money and effort. There are many out there who don’t make it this far, or don’t even start in the first place. I’m not disparaging these people or putting them down, I’m just creating a frame of reference for this accomplishment. Being a full time student takes up enough time, then you have to add in all the hours plugged in at work. Most students carry that work responsibility with them without even a second thought.

So come May, another graduation will be upon us. We’ll see another class walk on the stage, hug their parents and loved ones, and tear up when they say goodbye to a good friend. Now is the time when everything comes to a head. It may sound a bit lame, but we’re coming to a crossroads. Now if I only had Bone Thugs & Harmony to come visit all of you and perform the song. I’ll work on that. Hey, who knows. If I play my cards right we could be listening to I Tried at graduation. Or, probably not.


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