21 Year Olds Shouldn't Have Complexes

Spring has sprung and I can feel those inevitable butterflies shake off their winter coats and begin to beat familiar patterns in my ribcage. Their fluttering reminds me that another year of college is complete, another class of friends is graduating, and another year of my life is gone. I'm freaking out. It’s funny that a twenty-one year old would have an age complex, isn’t it?


But it’s true, although technically, I suppose I could call it more of a “time-passing-by” complex. I get so panicked at the thought of my years at UC Merced slipping away that I just want to dig my heels into the timeline of my life and yell “Stop! This is going by too fast, I’m not ready for real life! Where’s the pause button?”


This year’s impending Commencement has gotten me thinking a lot about my own upcoming graduation and post-college plans. It’s a stressful thing to consider and the dead-end thoughts trapped in my head have gotten me jumpy enough that I flinch every time I hear anyone ask a senior “What’s next?” (I can just imagine how they feel).


As for myself, I have no idea. It’s a little scary because, really, what’s a twenty-one year old kid supposed to know about the rest of her life? I don’t feel that I’m in any way ready to make a career decision that might well effect the rest of my working career; I still feel as though high school graduation was just six months past! 


I know that most of my peers have the same concerns I do in terms of our post-college futures, if not the same anxiety, but that knowledge does little to assague my nerves. I know also that every college student in the history of education has probably shared my worries, but I can't seem to get over the hurdle of imagining myself without the familiar comfort of ever-mounting piles of homework, Taco Tuesdays at my favorite mexican restaurant and the pure, unadulterated joy that comes when the last letter of the week's last paper is printed, and nothing's left but weekend, stretching clean and free in front of me.


So how do you discard that familiar comfort and start looking beyond your college years? What's the secret?