Letter To The College Senior Who Is Scared Of What's Next

You think "I have time", so you put everything off. You keep living your life, working hard, studying harder. Then it hits you: Senior year. You have to decide if you're going to grad school or going straight into the field.

Thinking about your future is hard. After getting into college to get your degree you thought of what you wanted to do with that degree. But things change throughout four years. Your plans could be completely different, or exactly the same.

As an approaching senior, now you actively have to be doing things to make sure you get that job. You now have a million decisions to make, trying to bump up your resume in the next year so people think you're appealing enough to work for….or to get your next degree with. Applying for internships, getting research experience, all on top of your school work and job.

Some majors don't have a choice and have to go to grad school. There lands you another question: Will you go straight into Grad school or take a year off? How will you afford it? Where to go? This is the category I fall under.

Thinking about going to school AGAIN is such a hard experience. I thought it would be easier the second time, but it's just harder. You have a bigger possibility of not getting in because each school takes less and less people each year. The programs are competitive. Certain programs only have 10 spots, with over 200 applicants. All you're thinking is "how the hell am I supposed to get in if that many people apply?".

The GREs are a whole different ball-game. You have to take what I like to call "the SATs on steroids". The GREs are twice the cost and double the stakes. Personally, I still haven't studied for my GREs because I'm too afraid of the outcomes. Professors put all of this pressure on you from the start, telling you that you need good grades, a great resume, and good scores on the GREs; it's very hard to think about.

I've been researching schools since sophomore year, yet I still don't know where to go. Every school has its pros and cons. I've known what I wanted to do in my field since I started, yet I don't know what grad school would be best for me. I also added a second major my sophomore year. Do I want to go to grad school for that? Or just do what I planned on doing in the first place. There are so many opportunities and decisions.

You've been preparing yourself for this for your whole life, mostly the past four years. But it doesn't hit you until it's time to get in those recommendation letters, have friends or family asking if you've taken the GREs yet or where you're planning on going.

I've always known what I wanted. But right now, I just want to get in SOMEWHERE. I would prefer it to be a school where I would thrive and give me the best chance of working where I want to work. But, if I just get in, after all of this stress, I think I'll be happy. To accomplish that, I have to do the application process, which is so much more thorough than it was before.

At this point in my life, I simply wish that I could stay in school forever. Not having to worry about picking yet ANOTHER school, not having to worry about competition, not having to worry about what I want to do for the rest of my life.

Think about that: the rest of your life. That is a pretty damn scary thing. How do I know that I'll want to be doing this for the next 40 years? How do I know I picked the right major? The right career path? The right school to get me into the career I want? HOW DO I KNOW? It's so stressful and scary, it puts my anxiety at an all-time high; which is why I still haven't studied for my GREs. I know I have to. I know I should. I know it's the best thing for me. Yet here I am writing about needing to study instead of actually studying.

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