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Dear Seniors: It’s OK To Enter A Season Of Waiting

From the moment you step on campus, everyone is talking about your future. You’re 17, maybe 18 years old, and student leaders are filling your brain with information about the next four years of your life.

OK, that’s fine. So, you’re finally enrolled on campus. As days pass, time moves fast. Quicker than you remember from high school. Peers are enrolled in organizations, and grades need to be perfected as soon as possible. You finally remember, “Did I submit my leadership application? What about my internship application?” 

Now things are getting out of hand. Imposter syndrome kicks in and is the thief of any academic or organizational joy. 

No matter the college you’re enrolled in at Penn State, each student inevitably receives emails each week about job postings and full-time opportunities knocking at your door. Hurry! Your competition is going to grab this job before you do! If you don’t get it, there goes everything. 

Then, college in Happy Valley gets harder because people historically say college is the best time of your life, but you feel like it’s passing you by. There’s guilt and thoughts of “what should’ve been.” Am I doing this right? Am I ungrateful? The list goes on. 

If any of this sounds familiar to you, it’s because we’ve all lived the same mindset at Dear Old State. As soon as we arrived, we were prepared to be the best of the best, which would land us the dream job interview. We’ve never really waited for everything because we didn’t have to. 

It’s always been as plain as this: If you go to Penn State, there are hundreds of things to do on campus. We have the largest network in the world. Wherever you go, you’ll have everything figured out and it’ll be just fine. 

That’s what we keep hearing, right? Everything will be OK and it’ll all work out. 

Personally, if I hear that statement one more time, I’ll stop believing in it. We’ve grown accustomed to the Penn State culture of working the hardest you can, and it’ll pay off. What happens if it doesn’t pay off? 

That’s my point. There’s no way of knowing when you’ll land that interview, receive the job offer, or achieve precisely what you wanted before graduation. Maybe that’s what we wanted, but we have to accept what we don’t have control over. 

We attended college during a pandemic and persevered. The world completely changed and Penn State still called our names to follow through and graduate in 2023. If we can do that, there’s nothing we can’t do. We need to be comfortable in the uncomfortable moments of waiting. 

We already know technology is what’s reading our resumes and cover letters. Be at peace with the work you’ve done and keep moving forward. Working toward and waiting for what you deserve is what we really need to be taught.

Stop comparing what you’ve accomplished and what you hope to do to the person next to you. This isn’t a self-help article, but if it was, focus on what is in your control and start to love yourself in the calm moments. Love that you worked hard on whatever you could and the rest is out of your hands. That statement is enough to sign off the article and swear by the whole “season of waiting” deal. 

Alas, it’s never that easy. Especially when it comes to Penn State perfectionists who were trained to believe that being busy and exemplary represents a squeaky-clean professional profile. Understand that what you’re doing and have done is enough. 

Each day is not a race. The days leading up to graduation should be filled with pride and reminiscing on your fondest memories and not fear and dread for what’s next. Take this time to look back at what you’ve done and breathe. Graduating from Penn State is not easy, but you’re doing it. Relish in that fact itself. 

So pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and be at peace with the dull moments and whatever is in store for you. Waiting is normal, and everything will pay off, just like we pictured it to be as starry-eyed 18-year-olds.

Besides, working a minimum wage job in State College and sunbathing on Old Main Lawn all summer doesn’t sound all that bad…

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About the Author

Larkin Richards

Larkin is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. The only words that leave her mouth are "yinz" and "dippy eggs." Luckily, her writing has much more substance than that. As a Steelers and Pirates fan, sports can become a hot debate. Share your thoughts on dogs (specifically Boston Terriers) with her at: [email protected]

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