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Stepping into the world

How graduates can cope with fear of the unknown

Caity Healy | Lifestyle Editor

After years of learning how to navigate through college, understanding the ways to deal with the workload and constantly being faced with new challenges, a new type of stress is coming for many of the graduating seniors: the pressure and fear that comes with life after graduation, and the daunting feeling of what is to come.

“It’s quite honestly the fear of the unknown,” explained senior psychology major Ashley Biles. “For most of us, we have been in school since we were four- or five-years-old. Graduation symbolizes the end of our education and schooling, therefore it is the end of the known. It’s time to step out into something we literally have no experience in … full-time adulting.”

For many students, Western has become a place of comfort.

“It feels overwhelming, honestly. Leaving (Western) is going to be the hardest transition. It’s home,” commented senior communications studies major Katelin Stewart.

While this intimidating and, for many, terrifying feeling that is associated with the transition that will soon occur can be difficult to manage, there are healthy ways to cope. For some, the immediate instinct may be to suppress these emotions of anxiety and fear, it’s far more productive to channel them into something that will help students reach a level of success.

“I have found that focusing on the end goal helps ease the stress,” commented Biles. “Don’t focus on not knowing what will happen in the future, but rather all that you have done to prepare for the future you have created for yourself.”

Aside from that, there are other ways to turn that stress into something positive.

“Reminding myself that I am capable and that I do have a plan even though it feels like it’s worlds away,” is how Stewart explained her means of coping.

Talking with friends who are also experiencing this feeling can help to calm nerves, and show that no student is alone in this type of emotion. On top of this, students can also “take a few minutes to yourself each night to work on resumes, cover letters and school (and) work applications,” recommended Biles. Anything that will further prepare students for stepping into this new adventure can be a beneficial way to subside that stress.

For students who are not graduating, there are ways to minimize this fear even before reaching the point of soon-graduating.

“Take advantages of the opportunities that arise,” said Biles. Seizing any opportunity to build up a resume and boost one’s hireability will make that graduating term stress far less impactful.

In the end, it’s important to remember that while the fear may feel daunting now, it’s only temporary. Students should take pride in the fact that they just earned a college degree; whatever life throws at them now, they will be more prepared than they realize.


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