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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Final year blues

The Career Development Center offers many services for graduating seniors (Photo by Luke Malanga ’20).

Overcoming senior graduation anxiety

As graduation draws closer for the St. Joe’s Class of 2018, many seniors are thinking about job applications, graduate school or how to answer questions from others about what life after graduation holds. Preparing to strike it on their own and leave the relative comforts of college behind is an exciting transition, but also causes anxiety and stress.

Samantha Sur ’18, an arts and behavioral studies major and music minor, said thinking about life after graduation is scary, especially given that she is on her own.

“I’m excited, but I’m anxious for [graduating] as well,” said Sur. “There’s a small set of job opportunities available, especially for someone with my major.”

This feeling of apprehension and fear towards graduation is so common that Psychology Today has identified the phenomenon among outgoing seniors as “Post Commencement Stress Disorder” (“PCSD”). Common symptoms are described as feeling one has no control over their own life, or feeling a lack of support after graduation, a sense of failure, irritability and aversion to everyday activities.

“This is a difficult time for those who have felt a certain amount of security being a college student,” said Christine Mecke, Ph.D., director of Student Disability Services. “Mostly the focus is on doing well academically and having a good time, with less thought or worry about what the future might bring. The reality of paying back student loans comes into sharp focus. Those who have yet to find a job only seem to become more afraid.”

These are challenges St. Joe’s students can address by visiting the Career Development Center, where counselors provide support with the job application process, edit resumes and help students find the best options to follow their desired career path.

Danielle Fichter, the Career Events and Recruiting Coordinator for the Career Development Center, notes the center has a variety of resources students can access.

“The Career Development Center aims to prepare students for professional success,” Fichter said. “We offer services such as resumes reviews, mock interviews, individual career counseling appointments, and opportunities to network with employers and alumni through events held on campus each semester.”

According to the Career Development Center, the employment rate for the St. Joe’s Class of 2016 is 91 percent, currently employed in a position related to their career goals. Many of these former students found these positions through the Career Development Center.

The Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at St. Joe’s also provides mental health services so students may be able to develop healthy goals and practices for entering the working world.

“We are very fortunate to have such a great resource available to all of our students, not just the seniors,” said Mecke. “I’ve referred students to speak to someone in CAPS many times. They’ve helped them through stressful times and with developing strategies to lower their anxiety so that they can come up with a plan post-graduation.”

There can be no denying that a period of such significant transition as graduating from college is a frightening one. But students are not alone, given the many people and resources available to help them prepare for life beyond the Commencement walk.

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