Coping with the Graduation Scaries

Coping with the Graduation Scaries

Photo by: Emmanuel Offei on Unsplash

What is the graduation scaries?

The graduation scaries, better known as the senior scaries, is the anxiety that comes with the university chapter of your life coming to an end. It dims the excitement of graduation when you’re always wondering what is next. The thought of transitioning into beginning your career is haunting, riddled with doubt and dread. While this may not be the case for everyone, it is a very common experience as the days of leaving university life approach faster than ever this term.

In a country where the socio-economic atmosphere has become a frenzy over the past decade, experiencing the graduation scaries makes sense. Life post-Covid in the job market has been unprecedented. With many companies failing or making employees redundant, competition for jobs, let alone graduate-level jobs, is nerve-wracking. Furthermore, in recent years the value of a degree has become increasingly questionable. With the rise of apprenticeships, obtaining a degree is no longer the most sensible route for getting a well-paying job. Despite the new conversation, it remains undeniable that going to university is a privilege and a period to allow time before entering the field of your choice.

How did I realise I was experiencing it?

At the start of the year, my friends and I had a small discussion about the bittersweetness of being in our third, and final year. Experiencing the last few months of seeing one another on a weekly basis was something that we acknowledged as we began to question what post-grad life would appear to be. Trying to live in the moment while recognising that these will become endearing memories feels wrong. The bittersweetness feels like mourning something that hasn’t fully come to an end which is why it feels wrong. 

Over the past few weeks, my friends and I have been sending each other TikToks regarding the beauty of adult friendships. While I had initially found the thought of graduating exceptionally exciting, the pit in my stomach began to develop when the university began posting Master’s graduations in January on Instagram. Macklemore’s Good Old Days is a song that encapsulates the graduation scaries appropriately as the lyrics go ‘I would lay in my bed and dream about what I’d become/ Couldn’t wait to get older, couldn’t wait to be some/ Now that I’m here, wishing I was still young’. This song perfectly captures the bittersweetness of graduating as at the start I couldn’t wait for it to be over, but now that it is approaching I want time to slow down.

Ways of coping with it

Now that we know what the graduation scaries is and what it looks like, it’s important to dish out some advice on how to deal with the anxiety that comes with it. This is what I’ve found has also been helpful for me.

1. Know you’re not alone

The anxiety of change is exceptionally common. Embrace the uncertainty and find comfort in your support system- be it your friends, family or partners. Having an individual or group that is currently experiencing the same circumstances as you is very helpful as they are able to validate your feelings and thoughts. Personally, I go to my friends when university feels overwhelming, and they reassure me that everything will be okay, and everything happens for a reason. 

2. Enjoy your time while you’re still here

Your university is not yet finished. While the end may be creeping forward day by day, you are still here. Finding moments to appreciate that you are still here is highly recommended as it leads you to remember that attending such an institution is a privilege, especially in such trying times. 

Also, make the most of the limited time you have left. Go to that restaurant, event, bookshop- whatever it is that you’ve been meaning to go to but haven’t yet. Fill your time with memories and most importantly, enjoy yourself.

3. Finish strong 

With the final term commencing, put your effort in! Anxiety can cause you to avoid doing your work. This is because you are psychologically refusing to do things that lead to progression, but this will hinder your experience in the long term. Be proactive and utilise the resources that are available to you. 

4. Plan for your next chapter

As I mentioned above, utilise the resources that are available. If you’re confused about your next steps, why not book a meeting with the career’s office. They are here to help you. Another important planning is network. NETWORK! NETWORK! NETWORK! The socio-economic atmosphere of the country is tough and getting your foot in the door will never hurt you. One way of networking is online, e.g. via LinkedIn which is an excellent tool to reach out to others in the field you want to break in. Another way of networking is through events. Once a year, City usually hosts a careers fair for its students but attending such events elsewhere can be just as helpful. Being proactive can help tackle your anxiety.

Graduation may be a couple of months away, but you are still in your university era. Embrace the waves of excitement and nervousness as they come. After all, it is coming to an end. Unless you decide to do a postgraduate degree 😉.