It begins with a slight tickle in the back of your mind. As time passes and the real world looms overhead, this tickle begins to grow, triggering the amygdala (the part of the brain associated with fear), which results in clammy hands and an anxious feeling that burrows in your chest. As the sweat drips from your back and forms pit stains underneath your arms, you suddenly realize what’s going on; you have a serious case of the senior scaries.
With a diagnosis of the senior scaries, you may find yourself suffering from fears thousands of other seniors across the country are starting to face as they begin their last year of college. And while bumps in the night and black cats may be scaring other Michigan State students this October, the only thing more frightening to seniors than a haunted corn maze is the realization that the best four years of their lives are coming to a bittersweet end.
While pursuing a double major in international relations and political science, senior Kayla O’Callaghan is one of many who has felt her senior scaries creep in as she shares what terrifies her the most about her impending graduation date this coming May.
“The idea of being a real adult is scary mostly because I don’t really know exactly what I want to do with my life yet,” O’Callaghan said. “I know that once I decide what I want to do I’ll be successful, but four years has not been enough time for me to realize what my passion is.”
So, as the nights begin to dim, earlier rather than later, and the leaves transform from vivid greens to shades of auburn and maroon, O’Callaghan is in good company this October; as many more Michigan State seniors feel the pressure of “the real world” looming closer.
Elaine Bageris, a senior pursuing a marketing degree at Michigan State, also shares O’Callaghan’s worry of finally finishing undergrad.
“Going into senior year, I was most nervous for [college] ending,” Bageris said. “I had an internship this past summer and I kept saying that I wanted to take advantage of my senior year. I want it to be the longest year of my life.”
While working an 8-5 job with Meijer in their merchandising department this past summer, Bageris gained some insight into what a potential future career was about to offer once she completed her spring semester at MSU.
“It was definitely a wake-up call to the real world,” Bageris said, laughing. “So now that it is senior year, I need to take advantage of it.”
Like Bageris and O’Callaghan, senior Gabe Catenacci, a philosophy and humanities pre-law double major, has a similar case of the senior scaries as he takes on his last year of undergrad.
“I am nervous about finding a stable position right after graduation,” Catenacci explained. “I have the LSAT coming up, then I will be going on to grad school, all while trying to find internships. It’s a bit nerve-wracking.”
So as many seniors begin to feel that tickle in the back of their mind reminding them that this is it, this is their last hurrah, know that you’re not alone if you’ve caught a case of the senior scaries.
Moving forward and on to a new chapter is quite intimidating, especially when the previous one is branded as the best of the best, but life has a funny way of working out in the end. It’s okay to worry about the big, bad “real world,” but get excited for what’s to come.
Diana Nicoletti is a senior pursuing a double major in professional writing and creative advertising. When she isn’t typing away, she is jamming out to Fleetwood Mac and discovering new albums to spin on her record player, appropriately named Stevie. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @dnicks23.