5 Emotional Phases of a College Senior

Updated on June 5, 2018

Every year, over a million students graduate from colleges all over the globe. They stand proud in their cap and gowns, ready to take their diploma with a smile. To the audience, they’re entirely poised and prepared to take on the world. In reality, they’ve had ten mental breakdowns, slammed out a 30-page thesis paper, and shotgunned two cases of beer (or bottles of wine)… all within the last seven days. And that’s not even the half of what we students endure throughout our whole senior year.

We’ve been put in the middle of many situations as students that cause us grief and unwanted pressure, but none more so than the act of graduating. It’s the crossroad through the veil, and we’re not sure yet how we feel about it. Presented below are just a handful of emotional phases you soon-to-be graduates might encounter:

1. Disbelief of the Truth

This occurs when you finally understand something vital during your last year of college: you’re graduating. And then you ask yourself some critical and pressing questions. How the crap did this happen? How have four long years passed by so quickly? Who in their right mind is letting me become a contributing member of human society? Yeah, sure, you’ve spent years pored over overpriced books and pushed through late nights at the library, but that was more for routine than preparing for the day when you’d no longer have to. Disbelief happens the moment you become aware that semi-adulthood is ending and real life is about to start. Ready or not (or really not ready), here it comes.

2. Regret

At this point, you’re starting to questioning all your life choices and regretting a number of them. What if what I went to school for isn’t any good in the real world? You’ve majored in classic literature or biology, but they say a business degree will always come in handy. Graphic design could be cool too, but nothing compares to a life in technology. Before long, you’re not only second-guessing your fourth chosen major but also wondering if graduating as a whole is really what’s best. No law says you have to graduate after four or five years. In fact, no law says that you have to graduate at all. Your school has plenty of classes available that sound interesting, and people smarter than you are often saying that there’s nothing more important than a well-rounded education. Besides, come to think of it, living on campus food for the rest of your life wouldn’t be that bad, and your student discount would never expire.

3. A Mixture of Fear and Excitement

Despite the stress that it’s continuously caused you over the years, you’re a bit excited about the idea of graduating. Heck, you deserve a pat on the back for making it this far. There were a few times when you thought you wouldn’t. More than once you were willing to spend the rest of your life living under your parents’ roof with no complaint if it meant that you’d never have to pay for a $200 textbook again. Still, you made it to the end of the line with only a few fatal scrapes and bruises. You’ve grown a lot in the last few years, so maybe (just maybe) you are ready to begin the next chapter of your life. After all, if you can make it through 8ams and mandatory attendance, you can make it through anything. Right?

4. Relief

With graduation upon you, there is a lot to be thankful for. Soon you’ll be free of all those 10 page papers and strategically planning out your mental health days for the benefit of not skipping too many class periods. In fact, you don’t have to worry about classes at all anymore. Professors that don’t realize their class isn’t your only class? Forget about it. Annoying classmates? Bye. Exams filled with questions that you didn’t study for? They won’t be missed. But wait, there’s even more. You can finally stop (yes, stop) collecting debt. Of course you now have no excuse for not paying those loans back, but at this point you take what you can get.

5. Anxiety

Now, this is where it gets tough for you. You’ve gone through all the listed classes, gathered the exact amount of credits, and completed the online forms to graduate but… what am I doing to do next? If any college student says that question didn’t cross their mind at least once a day, they’re probably lying. Uncertainty for what happens after you’ve been handed your diploma is a constant reminder that no matter what your parents, professors, and the rest of society tells you, you are not the equipped adult they think you are. Only a few days ago you were eating cold, week-old leftovers in your pajamas… as breakfast… in your 2 o’clock class that you were 20 minutes late to. You have no clue what the world wants from you or how exactly you’re supposed to achieve that. There’s graduate school that you hear so much about, study abroad options to expand your horizons, but then again no one ever says no to a gap year, and jumping into the job market is always smart. What to do? What to do?

Realizing that student life is ending can be a bittersweet moment, and a lot goes on in the minds of seniors in-between their first class of the year and their final standing as a student in front of the school board—some that are prettier to witness than others. Whether it’s trying to settle on what to do for the rest of their life or accepting the notion that they are real-world adults, senior year is an emotional process that hits every student one way or another.

Did you experience all of these stages as a college senior?

See results

© 2018 Selena Lundy


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, owlcation.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://owlcation.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)