Don’t worry, be happy

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My roommate bought a dog last week.

The decision was a long time in the making. But after applying to 15 different post-graduate programs last fall, and having since received feedback from only a third — all negative — it seems commitment is exactly what she needed.

For many graduating students, the excitement of wrapping up our undergraduate careers can be eclipsed by the uncertainty accompanying the long wait for responses — or worse, the sting of rejections.

But this is a time when we should be feeling proud, not inadequate.

Most students don’t hear back from professional programs like medical or law school until spring, despite having applied back in October.

Some schools even send offers up until the first day of class — leaving the question “what are you doing next year?” unanswered long past convocation for many graduates.

As if fourth-year wasn’t rough enough, being stuck in academic limbo can be alienating.

Some students with offers of admission might “coast” for the remainder of their degree once they’re certain of their footing — but for students plagued by uncertainty, this isn’t necessarily an option.

Many doubtful fourth-years plunge head-first into their studies to secure high grades for final transcripts. Some turn their focus to other areas of life, seeking reassurance in extracurriculars, jobs or even social and romantic relationships.

Trying out new roles can be a good coping mechanism for those unsure of what the future holds, but we shouldn’t look past the underlying cause of such behaviour.

Take my roommate’s new foray into canine motherhood. After she was complimented on being a good mom to her four-month-old pup, she replied, “Thanks — at least I’m doing one thing right in life.”

It’s clear the backhanded response had more to do with her looming admissions responses than her caretaking skills.

I find it unsettling that so many of us predicate our self-worth on getting into the perfect post-grad program.

Rather than spending our last, glorious weeks at Queen’s reflecting proudly on our accomplishments, we let this uncertainty stain what memories we have left to make.

We should look both backward and forward with positivity, and recognize all the ways our time here has prepared us for what’s ahead. Whether that’s studying law or looking after a little pooch, we should know that it’s enough.

Christine is one of the Journal’s Copy Editors. She’s a fourth-year English major.

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