“Hi, I’m Carmen and I am a junior at Rockhurst. Wait no, I’m a senior now actually.”
“Yeah, I’m not really sure what I’m going to do after graduation, but we’ll figure it out.”
“No, I am absolutely not ready to leave.”
Have you had conversation that looked like this? I have started to have these conversations much more frequently now that college graduation is closer than ever before.
This August, I had the opportunity to help with freshmen move-in day. I met so many new faces eager to get settled in on the next chapter of their lives. A flood of nostalgia washed over me as I overheard new students meeting their roommates for the first time. I thought back to when my freshmen year roommate and I bonded over putting together an Ikea shelf just to realize we set it up backwards. It stayed that way for the rest of the year, too.
Witnessing these student’s “firsts” reminded me of all of the “lasts” I was about to experience. My last first-day of school. The last time I will compete in a sport at the collegiate level. The last time I will live in the same city as the friends I have grown so close with. These realizations threw me into a whirlwind of emotions. I did not want to start looking for a job. Capstones? No thank you. I am not ready for the responsibilities that come with senior year.
To say I started the academic year overwhelmed is an understatement. When I noticed how anxious I became with each class, I asked for help. I reached out to a good friend who graduated in May. I expressed my concerns for the upcoming year and the advice she gave me changed my perspective:
“You’re not ready yet but come May you will be. You’ve done as much growing as Rockhurst University can give you. Honor it and keep going and keep growing.”
Now, whenever I feel like my life is getting out of control, I return to the advice of my friend while also using grounding techniques:
Take deep breathes
Feel three items
“You’re not ready yet”
Name three things you see
“But you will be in May”
I repeat until I feel calm again. I know senior year will bring joy, hardships, and great memories. Even though I still do not feel prepared to conquer my last year of college, I know that I am equipped with healthy coping mechanisms. Running, journaling, and my emotional support animal, Giles, have been great de-stressors for when things start to pile up. I also know that Rockhurst’s Counseling Center is here for me whenever I do not feel in control of my life.
If the start of the school year is a big stressor to you, I encourage you to find healthy ways to relax amongst the chaos. Remember that you are growing every day! Here are a few Instagram accounts that offer tips for when you feel overwhelmed: