For Seniors Only

“How did it get so late so soon?
It's night before it's afternoon.
December is here before it's June.
My goodness how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?”
~Dr. Seuss~

Being a senior in college is both an exciting and a frightening time. It's a time of transition. The final months as an undergraduate can be stressful as you finish required coursework, apply for graduation, and prepare for an unknown future. You may leave most or all of your friends to attend graduate school, go to work, or stay at home.

This transition from student to post college life can be difficult because of the expectations and pressures that come with professional school or work. Up to this point, you likely have attended school for eighteen straight years, so it’s not surprising that there is some stress involved in the change.

Consider these three phases of change:

  1. An ending, followed by...
  2. A period of confusion and distress, leading to...
  3. A new beginning

If you think about it, every transition begins with an ending. You have to let go of the old thing before you can pick up the new. While you may be excited about graduating from Penn State University, don’t be surprised if saying goodbye is difficult.

A Transition Checklist

  1. Take your time. While things around you are changing, you need to adapt mentally and this can’t be rushed.
  2. Arrange temporary structures. It’s important to work out ways of continuing on until other things fall in place. For example, you may need to find a temporary job until a permanent one becomes available.
  3. Don’t act for the sake of action. Try not to make snap decisions during this time. Staying in transition may be uncomfortable, but it’s less difficult than aborting the process.
  4. Recognize why you’re uncomfortable. Distress is a sign that something is changing. The transition process includes times of anxiety and may awaken old fears.
  5. Take care of yourself in little ways. Be sensitive to your smallest needs.
  6. Don’t force changes on yourself. Find the little continuities that are important when everything else seems to be changing.
  7. Find out what is waiting in the wings of life. Remember that there is unlimited potential living within you. Interests and talents you have not yet explored are waiting to be tapped. Transitions clear the ground for new growth.
  8. Don’t be afraid to talk with someone. Although exciting, this may be a stressful time. Utilize your support network of friends, family, or a counselor.

"To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly."
~Henri Bergson~