Opinion: Seniors, don’t lose yourself to fatalism

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Opinion: Seniors, don’t lose yourself to fatalism

Caleb Beck

Caleb Beck

Caleb Beck

Caleb Beck

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By: Caleb Beck

Wolf Editor

Mass Communication Senior

[email protected]

The last stretch of undergraduate education has exasperated my peers, and now is the time to pull your friends through their existential mire.

I never understood why so many of my senior friends last year sounded so defeated while having jobs lined up already, or grad school in their sights, all with a breezy final semester of nine to 12 credit hours left to ensure that they walked for graduation in spring and transitioned to brighter prospects.

I now realize how frustrating this final year can be, for these exact reasons.

A senior friend confided in me that her trials in Loyola’s music program solidified her skills and reminded her how capable she was as a musician, imbuing her with a lot of confidence. Now, she feels like her tutelage exists to checks the boxes of her DPCL as she jumps through hoops and fills general education requirements while she looks to the future with natural confusion.

Another friend told me that by his junior year, he felt sure he had all the skills Loyola University could teach him, and if he dropped out tomorrow perhaps he’d save himself from another year of what he saw as overgeneralized, expensive senior seminars so very removed from what he saw himself doing with his skill set.

It’s a bleak outlook to be sure, and a risky one, but this apathy isn’t difficult to understand.

Recently, student success coaches have been assigned to every freshman upon arriving at Loyola as a kind of personal trainer to discuss progress milestones, develop positive study habits and secure their footing within their education. I think this is a fantastic move on the university’s part, but it’s drawn a collective sigh from fellow seniors that wished this system existed when we arrived in 2014.

I worry that our fine Jesuit institution has recently placed such a strong emphasis on freshmen enrollment and retention that has left upperclassmen feeling like they’re not also seen as a priority. It feels like there exists a growing disconnect between the freshmen experience, the focus-oriented middle years and the exhausting final hurdles of senior year.

Is it so shocking that a sense of fatalism has developed among my peers that feel their paths are predetermined while student debt accumulates, jobs and internships become part of daily concern and the expectations of our majors have reached their apex? I feel like I need three student success coaches and a weekly therapy meeting to stay above the tide some days, while the time necessary to make these appointments simply doesn’t exist.

I’ve watched my sequence of mass communication transform behind me as teachers have rotated, programs have been facelifted and entire overhauls in skill sets and philosophies have developed. I’ve been told it’s meant to reflect a rapidly changing industry, but I can’t help but wonder if I arrived too early to my track before I could get the best progression of guidance and resources.

My program is one of the most represented on campus. I can hardly speak for my friends in smaller majors that suffer from significant budget cuts every semester, or where that uncertainty has placed them as graduation looms nearer.

Make no mistake, I love this university and the education I’ve taken away from it. The anxieties I’ve named are natural: trials and tribulations are part of the college experience. It wasn’t going to be easy, and I’m elated I’ve seen so many of my friends change to meet the demands of their metamorphic education.

So then, I want the impetus of this opinion to remind students, seniors especially, to reach out to one another and realize that you’re not the only ones feeling beleaguered or uncertain. Don’t underestimate how important empathy is when all you feel you’re entering into is an uncertain world with a lukewarm job market. Laugh, scheme, commiserate and use all the resources at your disposal to finish strong and confident.

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