Skip to main content Jump to main navigation Search content

Bigger Pictures: Senior Unease

Person in black and white film clinging to falling bridge

“The pessimist complains about the wind;

the optimist expects it to change;

the realist adjusts the sails.”

     ~  William Arthur Ward

Hello, Seniors. Welcome to the beginning of the end. First, there’s no need to freak out. Not that you would. I mean, whoever heard of a Penn student freaking out over school. I know, I know, that was a bit of a cheap shot. So, please, allow me to beg forgiveness. Thank you.

Now that we’re friends again, let me just say that Senior-Year Unease is typical. It happens to lots of people. It happened to me.

The first way Senior Unease manifested itself in me was with classic Senioritis: ditching classes. I messed up more classes in my last semester of Senior year than all my other semesters combined. I suddenly lost the will to stay up all night to finish a paper (okay, fine, stay up all night to start and finish a paper) and make it to 8:00 class. And besides, the weather was really nice that spring, and I caught more than a few naps under a sugar maple on the quiet side of campus.  hose naps represent my fondest memories of my Alma Mater.

And then there was my recurring nightmare, the one where I find out at the last minute that I’m one course shy of graduation. I got two words for you, friends: cold sweat.

What I’m trying to get at here is that your Senior Unease is not atypical, and is not unique to your generation of soon-to-be graduates. Change comes whether we want it to or not, whether we are ready for it or not, and change is at the heart of Senior Unease. What is unique – what will be unique – is how you will experience it. In other words, you probably won’t take to sleeping on campus lawns like a vagrant, or develop night terrors. So, bonus for you.

On the other hand, there is no sense in deliberately courting Senior Unease. So try to be mindful of a couple things.

  1. First, treat your job search like a class. And get started early in the first semester. The longer you put it off, the larger it will loom in your head. If you need help working your job search into your schedule, we’re here to help in that regard.
  2. The other thing: Plan to have fun. Don’t forget to enjoy your final lap. Formals, semi-formals, Feb Club – you don’t have to do everything, but you need to allow yourself to do some things that are fun, to be with your Penn people one more time.

So take it easy. Change is the constant.

Staff Writer: Pete Kimchuk, Senior Learning Specialist

Learn more:

Stouffer Commons is undergoing a renovation project from May 27th - August 2nd.

Although the Weingarten Center staff have relocated to other campus locations during this period, the Center is open and available for students from Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. ET. Please call 215-573-9235 for assistance. You can also send an e-mail to