Contributor Vivian Cheng
Every year, thousands of senior students across the Western hemisphere succumb to an illness known as “senioritis.” Symptoms include leaving assignments two hours before the deadline, skipping class and clubbing the night before an exam.
I’m not going to lie, I’ve succumbed to senioritis too. Four years of cramming a semester’s worth of abstract science concepts for exams gets little tiring. Beyond academics, I’ve been in the same environment for four years, involved with the same extracurriculars and involved with the same people. I desperately crave change.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m endlessly grateful for the experiences I’ve had during my undergraduate education. My undergraduate degree and extracurriculars have equipped me with the tools needed to think critically, delve deeper into current affairs and set and execute lofty club objectives. However, I’m ready to learn more — whether that be in the workplace or in professional school. I’m ready to handle more high-stakes situations — by working with real clients, leading a department of a real-world organization or writing for a research journal.
Despite my groans and complaints about fourth year, I’ve come to embrace this side of senioritis. Knowing you’re ready to tackle what the world throws your way is a powerful feeling.
But senioritis also comes with a sense of unease. On the surface I might be apathetic, but this apathy is coupled to a deep-seated vulnerability and a dash of self-doubt. I fear that I won’t be good enough to succeed in the field I want to pursue. With Impostor Syndrome on the mind, it’s easy to compare myself to others in the same field and believe myself to be inferior. My mind spirals into a series of questions. What’s going to happen after I graduate? Will I get a job? Will I be happy in this job? There are so many unknowns.
I also wonder what life will be like outside Western University’s rich, nurturing community. There’ll never be another time where I can see my friends everyday, another time when I can see guest speakers with ease or another time when I can become friends with the person sitting at my library table.
For someone who’s (most likely) leaving science behind, at least academically, I’m also scared to learn from a non-medical perspective. Science has come to be a friend and a foe, but most importantly, a significant part of my life. Realistically speaking, I also don’t know how to make friends without my science puns.
But whatever the future holds, I’m sure I’ll adapt. And I’m sure you will too.
For all you seniors, this piece is an expression of solidarity but also one of encouragement. I know you groan at the thought of your next lab report, but take it in — it’ll be one of your last undergraduate assignments. Embrace these feelings of fear and empowerment.
You’ve survived Haffie Bio, Organic Chemistry, Stats 2244 — so you can do anything you set your mind to.
And when in doubt, know that graduation will cure you of your senioritis.