Anxiety, Excitement, and Validation: Seniors Face Their Last Semester

With the conclusion of last semester’s finals, emotions were running high for Loyola’s senior class in 2023. This winter break brought a time of deep reflection for those graduating in the crisp spring air. The question arises: where do we go from here? Seniors responded to this prompt with every emotion on the spectrum. Some are fearful of their next steps, while others readily await a post-Loyola world. The future looks uncertain, but it is certainly coming.

For those who already have their first postgraduate vacancies guaranteed, the feeling of accomplishment comes from putting their name on a contract. It’s as if all your school and extracurricular efforts have paid off.

Matthew Spear ’23, who recently accepted an engineering position, said: “It’s a strange feeling and it’s not something I’ve experienced before. However, taking a job is definitely exciting and validates the effort you’ve put into your education.”

December 15th was an unsettling date for many seniors, as it was the standard deadline for many graduate programs in the United States. Students have found the process of applying to master’s and doctoral programs to be categorically anxiety-inducing. Finding the right program, writing personal statements and asking professors for letters of recommendation is a tiresome task.

As difficult as it is to apply to graduate school, waiting for answers from these universities can be even more agonizing.

Candidate for several PhDs in English. programs, Grace Murry ’23 said, “I feel like I’m in purgatory right now waiting for my results. There is nothing else I can do at this point and my entire future hangs in the balance.”

Notably, many students in the Class of 2023 are choosing to continue their studies abroad. Seniors are applying to postgraduate programs in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, the UK, France, Hungary and more. While some seek to develop their study abroad experiences, others seek their first educational experiences abroad.

An additional anxiety that comes with applying abroad is the reality of leaving established support systems – perhaps for the first time in your life. Olivia Malley ’23 is applying for a degree in international politics at several European universities. Though she feels prepared, Olivia eagerly awaits her next steps.

Malley said, “I feel like I’m excited when I talk about going to graduate school, but the fear of actually getting in and going to school somewhere so far away, for so long, is going to get to me very soon.”

As the spring semester begins, we wish seniors luck as they continue to finalize their graduate plans. While the path won’t always be easy, the class of 2023 will be Loyola-ready wherever their future takes them.

Featured image courtesy of Jeremy Ahearn.




Anxiety, Excitement, and Validation: Seniors Face Their Last Semester

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