Today I was asked the question, “Do you carry your stress well?” Without much thought, I chuckled in response. When I realized the question was serious, I raised my eyebrows and said, “You do realize it’s my last year, right?”
Sure, it’s possible I was being dramatic. However, I am two and a half weeks into my senior year, and the only response I could manage was a laugh and an incredulous look.
It is not exactly the workload that is responsible for this overwhelming feeling. While upper-level courses do bring their fair share of work, they are not necessarily the root of the issue. At this point in my academic career, I am confident in my ability to manage my classes and my extracurricular activities (something I am grateful for).
Rather, my internal dilemma is one I think many students are faced with: how do we reconcile enjoying the present while continuing to be laser-focused on our futures, especially with said future feeling very, very close? I recognize that I am perhaps more nostalgic than the average 22 year old and that maybe this dilemma is not quite as universal as I imagine it to be, but I think many people who are approaching one of life’s biggest transitions can relate to that unavoidable feeling of “Where am I going?” — especially with the career fair right around the corner and your well-meaning relatives prodding to find out your plans for the next two, five, ten years.
Senior year is meant to be fun — and it is. That is, when the question “What’s next?” does not pop into my brain every few minutes.
This year brings the awareness of a lot of “lasts,” which, inevitably, brings the desire to make the most of these moments. Yet, it also seems to exist at an intersection of two mindsets.
The first, to live in the present and enjoy these moments, and the second, to plan for what’s next. I want to make time for my friends that are moving across the country in May, and I want to spend my available evenings at my favorite spot on campus. I want to bask in all of these things that I love about Tech while I am still here.
But I also want a job. I want to plan for the future. I want to know that I am using this degree I’ve worked hard for.
So that begs the question, do I spend the night in and perfect my resume, or do I go get ice cream with my friends? I do not think that these are mutually exclusive — but sometimes it is difficult to enjoy the present when I am so consumed by the future. Tech is not exactly a place that makes postponing the job search any easier, either. For every Canvas update in my email inbox, there are at least two emails about career opportunities or applications opening. Most of my conversations with my peers have revolved around our future careers, too.
However, I know that time doesn’t stop for me, and whether I feel fully prepared or not, this is my last year as a Tech student. And that knowledge is what makes me say yes to ice cream and to spending my evenings at my favorite spot on campus. But, you will find me simultaneously scrolling through Careerbuzz and updating my LinkedIn profile in the hopes that I can peacefully exist at this crossroads for the next few months.