How to Navigate Final Year Fear

It's that time of year where it's beginning to dawn on us third years that we actually have to graduate soon. Here's how to avoid an existential crisis.

Sarah Lahiri
28th February 2022
Image Credit: Pixabay, McElspeth
The last few years have been a rollercoaster of lifestyle changes, academic adjustment and social matchmaking and through it all, university has probably been the only constant thing to rely on. And if you’re a creature of habit like me, the thought of this changing so soon may have sent you into a spiral.

Over the last few years and possibly many before that, you’ve spent most days working towards the goal of earning your degree and now that the day is only a semester away, the post-graduate blues is bound to be overwhelming. The feeling of loss is inevitable and the fear of having to do it all over again in a different context is valid.

Not everybody is mentally, academically or financially able to do a Masters immediately after, and being launched into the working world can be so daunting. Worries regarding job security, changing friendship circles and moving into a different stage of life could essentially make it feel like you’re losing your safety net. So, as someone constantly living in a state of anxiety- this is what I can advise:

There is a world outside of the library, you know! Image Credit: Pixabay, 0fjd125gk87)
Realise that this is a natural reaction

Personally, I know I felt these exact fears in a smaller scale when I was leaving school and didn’t know what my future looked like. It was terrifying, but I got through it. You adjusted to university, and in the same way, you will adjust to the next thing. You’ll forge your way into new experiences, new skills, new company and new relationships. It may not be easy, but it will inevitably happen whether it’s in the ways you anticipate it to or not.

Land on some sense of direction

For me, I can somewhat ease some tension by planning things out. If this also works for you, exploring some options after graduation could help you feel less lost. Whether that’s a graduate job, travel plans or further studies, work out what is making you anxious and try to situate yourself within that to give you an idea of what you want from your future.

Don’t be so hard on yourself

At the risk of sounding like a Hallmark card, try your best not to take your stress out on yourself. Between COVID-19, strike actions and virtual learning amongst other struggles, this university experience has been nothing like we’ve expected and forcing yourself to mould a future you cannot predict at this stage is counterproductive. Work towards your expectations, but recognise that it is not make or break.

It is overwhelming, but don’t forget to give yourself the space to feel the emotions you’re feeling while you look forward to the rest of your life.

Enjoy the time you have

Yes, unfortunately you only have a semester left, but then again - you have a whole semester left! Spend these next few months enjoying yourself just as much as you spend them working towards your degree. You’ll never get these moments back, so you might as well make them count. It is overwhelming, but don’t forget to give yourself the space to feel the emotions you’re feeling while you look forward to the rest of your life.

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