COLUMN: How I'm dealing with the "senior-year uncertainty"
I am exhausted.
On top of a semester's worth of work, I've started to apply for jobs. I’ve written three cover letters, filled out half a dozen applications and reorganized my portfolio. Just six short months until graduation.
God, just typing that made me want to curl up in a ball.
I really have no clue where I’ll be at this time next year. I know many of my fellow seniors feel the same way.
I could be living halfway across the country or an hour away from Mount Pleasant. Will I be paying off my student loans or struggling to meet rent like I am now?
Will I still want to be a journalist?
Will I have to move away from my partner of two years?
Will my friends stay in touch with me?
Some people call it a quarter-life crisis, I call it “the senior-year uncertainty.” There isn’t much we can do until our questions about the future are answered.
For me, it helps to remember the last time I felt this way.
It was one of the last days of high school. My graduating class met on the football field for a game day, just like we had in elementary school when we moved up a grade. At the end of the day, teachers carried out large banners of all the Michigan universities.
Students lined up to take a picture with their prospective university. Not me. I just stood there, stiff as a brick. I had no idea where I would go to college. I had no idea what I wanted at all.
I was such a different person then. I was a stone-cold hermit who never spoke to anyone beyond my small group of friends. I walked around like I carried the weight of the world on my shoulders. My passion barely extended beyond the next concert I was going to.
That kid on the football field was wracked with anxiety and indecision.
But I knew, eventually, you have to leave the field. Another game was about to start.
Ultimately, that choice lead me to CMU.
Thank God I made that decision. I made new friends and explored my new independence. I joined a newspaper – a job that actually requires me to talk to strangers. All of it challenged me to break out of my shell.
That shy kid went on to host a podcast. That kid with zero social media experience is now running a newspaper with one of the biggest social media followings in the country.
Damn it, I am proud of myself – those are words I would have never said four years ago.
Now, this chapter of my life is over. Once again, I have to leave the field.
Uncertainty will follow us but change is inevitable.
I’m writing this from the bedroom I grew up in – except, it’s not my room anymore. The place where I first discovered my love of writing is now my mom's office. I'm sitting at an Ikea desk instead of my bed. The closet that once stored my clothes now stores old books. (By the way, where did my band posters go?)
The basement where my friends from high school and I used to spend the nights watching movies and playing video games is now my dad's gym.
Many of us seniors will return home for our last Thanksgiving break. Maybe your parents have remodeled your room too. Together we will realize home is wherever we choose to be.
That's one thing we all take away from this place. These new beginnings we are about to embark on is something we all share.