With the stresses of senior year and what comes next, taking time after graduation is sometimes the best choice.

Senior year of high school came with unexpected feelings and emotions. Remember when it seemed like such a crucial time? Remember when the pressure of decision-making was heightened? Well, four years later, I’ll be walking across a stage and will be presented with a piece of paper that says I am qualified for life. Those high school feelings are revisiting, but only this time, they’re much more potent. Now what? 

I’ve been working hard towards my degree, attending to other extracurricular commitments and working part-time; my schedule is full from Sunday to Saturday every week. In the midst of all the busyness, it can be easy to forget that these four years are just a season of life. Other seasons are on the horizon and will come whether we want them to or not.  

What are you going to do next? Are you applying for jobs? Are you going to go back home? For seniors, these questions may make your head spiral. For underclassmen, these questions will pop up in your head soon.

I genuinely love those questions. And, let me make this clear; they are good questions. I am someone who gets excited about their future. However, there is definitely no denying that these questions can seem extremely oversaturated for the typical senior. It makes a senior feel like they are an interviewee getting asked questions they may not have an answer for. And this, from my own experience, can lead to uncertainty, confusion and fear of what lies ahead.   

Fresh out of high school, I remember thinking about being done with college — how I would be free from the demands of academics and living my best life. Since the immersion into adulthood is something most college students long for, the reality that hits you during your senior year can be overwhelming. Society expects us to have the dream job set up, the master’s program pursued or even the ring by spring. 

I grew up knowing that I wanted to pursue a career in journalism, and I aspire to be a reporter and anchor in a market someday. Thankfully, I have been able to establish and refine my passion of storytelling and reporting over these four years. For the longest time, I figured that I would jump straight into the business right after college because it seemed like the normal thing to do.

But it wasn’t until this year, in the midst of applying for jobs in my field, that I realized I have the rest of my life ahead of me. Why do I need to stress about obtaining a news job before graduation? That realization gave me unexplainable peace. 

It can be so easy to feed into the stereotypes and normalities of the world to feel like we are fitting in. I think the same can be said about trying to get into a master’s program. It may seem like the best option, especially when you don’t know what to do next. But in reality, it could be a poor use of time and money immediately after college. 

We tend to follow society’s rules of doing things in the now rather than taking some time to figure things out. With this experience, I have learned how important it is to analyze everything and do things because I want to do them, not because society wants me to. Taking a break may be the best option for your freshman year of the rest of your life.