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The Seniority Report

Preparing for an uncertain future after college

Anna Gunther

Issue date: 9/4/09 Section: Opinion
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According to the US News and World Report's rankings of the country's top universities, the criteria for CWRU's No. 41 spot include things such as acceptance rate, endowment, status as a research university, and other available programs. The makeup of our classes is obvious not just from the biology lectures or by overhearing conversations walking through the quad, but by the 34% of intended engineering majors for the 2006 freshmen - my senior class. Only 6% of my class came to Case as "undecided," a category that I am well aware of.

For the first year of college, I grew increasingly sick of telling people that I didn't know what I wanted to study. Eventually, I settled on English and psychology. While these are fairly popular majors at other universities, humanities are very much the minority here at Case. I have spent the past three years trying to prove my worth to people who continually told me to my face that I had useless majors. I quickly got over it.

Senior year presents a whole new set of challenges. As my friends take the LSAT, apply to graduate schools, or participate in engineering co-ops with excellent pay, I feel the enormous weight of still being "undecided." With graduation only nine months away, planning for the future now is crucial. Every one of my parent's friends, random acquaintances, and peers has switched their inquiry from "What's your major," to "What are you planning on doing after graduation?" I feel either lazy or stupid for answering them with a blunt "I don't know." The truth is, I really don't know what lies ahead.

The comfort remains with the other seniors. Even the other students who have taken their exams and have a set plan feel some uneasiness about the future. We have been planning for our adult lives since elementary school, which was in preparation for high school, and then college. For the first time, there is no exact path to take.

This fairly common phenomenon of the quarter-life crisis is seldom discussed. When I was an underclassman, my older sisters earnestly told me to enjoy my time at college. Only now do I really understand what they meant. We complain about the tests and papers, but once we are out of here, we will never live in a bubble with all our close friends within walking distance and only one class on Fridays that starts at noon. Pretty soon we will have real jobs with taxes and bills (not to mention a less than desirable economy).

Once we seniors graduate, we may end up broke, miserable, or both. However, we will have the freedom to choose the future we want for the first time in our lives. Despite the looming 'end,' the best we can do is take advantage of our time here. I may not know what I am doing after May, but I do know that after a period of trepidation, just like with my major, things will work out. We might as well enjoy our last moments of adolescence before leaping into adulthood.
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    Linda Giuliano

    posted 9/07/09 @ 3:52 PM EST

    Enjoy the year ahead. Graduation is a leap. The first job is the first step to exploring opportunities. It leads into new experiences and choices. The adventure doesn't end with graduation, it just begins. (Continued…)

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    In This Issue

    News

    • A conversation with Major Jason Winterle
    • Budgeting 101 for college students
    • Can you name this place?
    • Case holds first annual Campus Security Fair
    • Case Western prepares to serve community
    • Have you heard about ACM?
    • Nursing "freshmen stimulus" provides support for incoming students, provokes unease
    • USG Briefs

    Sports

    • Club sports & news
    • Fantasy Football
    • Gameday
    • Volleyball goes 3-1 at Wooster
    • Women's soccer takes two at JCU

    Fun Page

    • Crossword Solution
    • Maze Solution
    • Sudoku Solutions

    Opinion

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    • Buenos Aires: most romantic city?
    • Editorial: Student groups deserve credit for programming
    • Learning to be responsible
    • Letters to the Editor
    • Letters to the Editor
    • State your case photos: What would you do with an Inamori Ethics Prize?

    Focus

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    • Dittrick Medical History Center reopens exhibit on history of contraception
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    Sex and Dating

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    Soccer

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    Spartan Spotlight

    • Spartan Spotlight: Andrea Wojtowicz
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