In high school, problems like grades and securing a future seemed insignificant. Some students can remember thinking, “Why should I care if my grades are bad or if I don’t get into college?” Time flies by and suddenly graduation day comes—you hold your high school diploma and squint through a thousand camera flashes.
Afterwards, panic and realization hit that you are unprepared for adulthood. You find yourself building connections, applying for college and signing away your life to student debt. Life become horrifyingly unstable and gives very little comfort.
With this instability, fear can take a physical manifestation and causes stifling effects on the body and mind.
Freshman biological sciences major Robert Franklin deals with fear about being successful in the future, and he said his anxiety feels as if there is an elephant on his chest.
“My fear is that I’m not going to score high enough on the [Medical College Admission Test] to attend medical school, and I won’t achieve my goal,” Franklin said.
Unlike most public high schools, college students find themselves spending thousands of dollars on their education, and many students rely on financial aid to fund their education. Due to this reliance on outside aid, students fear that their loans and aid could be taken away.
Freshman criminal justice and forensics major Roxanne Stockton said one of her biggest fears is being able to pay for all four years of college.
“I don’t have much fear for student debt. It’s if the student loans are able to keep funding me. That’s what I am afraid of,” Stockton said.
Besides worrying if their education will be cut short because of finances, the fear of the future creeps in. Stockton said she worries if she will be able to get a job in her field of study, in addition to worrying about being able to continue her education because of certain certifications.
“[I am scared of] if I am able to get a good job afterwards. Not everyone who graduates get to get the job of their dreams, so I hope I’m one of them,” Stockton said.
Southern Miss alumna Emily Rasch knows the fear of life after you graduate and a life outside of college.
“When I first graduated, I had a plan, but that plan did not go the way that I want it to, so I was more scared about what happened when I didn’t have a plan,” Rasch said.
Although Rasch does not hold much fear about job security, she worries about human kind and helping as many people as possible. Due to her efforts to repair the damages in the world, Rasch often experiences the fear that her efforts are not causing real change.
“My biggest fear is not be able to impact the world in the way that I want to,” Rasch said. “I want to impact and change the world, but it’s a matter of how I’m going to do it…but are other people willing to listen?”
Despite their fears and uncertainty for the future, college students continue to push forward and do the best they can.