Impending Doom

Well, I’ve finally reached my senior year. It seems like only yesterday I was a meek 18 year-old freshman, fresh off the plane from Georgia, feeling equally thrilled and nervous. Looking back on it I can say I had an incredible three years; the idyllic college experience. I tossed frisbees on campus, pulled all-nighters during finals week, studied abroad in New Zealand, and attended one Fordham football game (naturally, we lost). And now the end is nigh and the tension in my four-girl apartment is palpable. Senior year has introduced me to a stress I’ve never experienced before, a stress that follows me wherever I go. Our bubble  is about to shatter and we are constantly reminded that we are about to enter “The Real World.”

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This idea of “The Real World” has always confused me. Have these first twenty-one years of my life been pure preparation? Will graduation thrust me into some hellish alternative universe? The country’s current economic status is not a comfort to the soon-to-be grown-up. The recession has sent college students into a frenzy. What was once friendly competition has become a tooth-and-nail battle for class rankings. We find that every conversation ends up being about the LSAT or GRE. Our parents, grandparents, teachers, aunts, uncles, cousins — I bet even our pets if they could talk! — are constantly reminding us how difficult it is to find a job these days, how hard we’ll have to work, how much we’ll have to excel. We enter the job market low on hope but high on extra-curriculars; our resumes packed with random clubs and activities we hope will set us apart. It’s truly daunting. So daunting that some of us simply decide it would be best to stay in school as long as we can, increasing our debt but also our shots at success. This idea isn’t unique. Our chances of snagging our dream careers are slim to nonexistent, so applying to grad school seems to be the best way to remain reputably unemployed and fully insured. But if we assume we’re avoiding competition by opting to stay in school, we find ourselves sorely mistaken. We’re now grappling for spots in classrooms across the nation. We’re studying flashcards and Princeton Review test-prep books until our eyes are bloodshot and we’re agonizing over points lost in practice tests and which computer program is best for logic prep.

It seems there is nothing we can do to find a way to relax. The stress is truly inescapable.

But underneath all the tension, I find myself oddly excited to face the challenges that lay ahead of me. After all, it’s my life. We’re young right now, and lucky that the only people we have to worry about are ourselves. We apply, and apply, and if we don’t succeed, apply again.

At least I know I’m still able to get discounts on delicious food while I still have my student ID. I can put my savings in my survival jar.

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Adriana’s Pizzeria in Gramercy Park has a bunch of great deals for scrimping students, like the “Dorm Special,” which offers a large pie, 6 garlic knots, 6 buffalo wings, 6 mozzarella sticks, and a 2 liter bottle of soda for only $23.95. Did someone say girls’ night?!

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Olivia, Fordham University 2012

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