Coming down with the fourth year blues

The inevitable job search is enough to make anyone consider putting off graduation (Megan Cooke/AQ)
The inevitable job search is enough to make anyone consider putting off graduation (Megan Cooke/AQ)

I realized this summer I would be graduating in less than a year. Afterwards, a number of thoughts flashed through my head, all with an undercurrent of panic. What if I don’t pass my courses? What if I’m not a good enough journalist to succeed in the real world? What if I don’t get a job?

As graduation day looms closer, with the “last first day of a semester” safely behind us, the reality of actually leaving school is shifting to the front of people’s minds.

To Samantha Both, a fourth-year sociology student, the fact that school is coming to a close is a “surreal” experience.

“[I’m] worried about getting a job, excited to be done and back home with my boyfriend because spending the week away from him is not fun,” she said. “[I’m] overwhelmed that it’s over. I feel old to be honest.”

Not all fourth year students are graduating this year. Nicole Pozer, a fourth year psychology student, is going to take another year to finish off her degree.

“It is a disappointment. Especially around this time when for instance, whenever people came back from winter break and they were, like, ‘Last first day,’ said Pozer. “And they’re really close friends of mine. And, of course, I don’t blame them at all for being excited for their final semester, but at the same time, it’s…personally unfulfilling that I have to take the fifth and I won’t be able to say that for an entire year from now. So, it’s kind of melancholy.”

But, as all the graduates get closer to their final day of undergrad, you have to wonder: what’s next? I’m not sure about most people, but I’ve been in school for most of my life. I took a year off between high school and university, but that wasn’t the real world. I lived at home and worked at Canadian Tire.

So, the real world is all but a mystery to me. Granted, I’m sure the year doesn’t start in September and end in April like it does here and grades aren’t as important. But, other than that, it’s a big question.

When Pozer does graduate, her plans involve going to school for a little bit longer, but even then, the questions don’t end with a single answer.

“And then there’s the idea that if I did go on to…another post-secondary education, would it be within New Brunswick or outside New Brunswick,” said Pozer. “And…I don’t know if this applies to anyone else, but you’re starting to kind of establish a home away from home. Where do you want this home to be and who, if anyone, do you want that home to be with?”

Student loans are also always a fun thing to contemplate when you’re looking towards the future. I owe more money to the government than I expect to see in my lifetime.

Both said, “[I’m] worried, for sure. I have this plan in my mind that I get a job right out of school and try to pay off as much of my line of credit as possible before I have to make student loan payments. But I’m very much aware that there is a good chance that won’t happen and it bothers the hell out of me.”