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Transfer Anxiety: What Do I Do Now that I Reached My Goal?

Posted on: October 19, 2011

Joanna Danielak completed her studies at Cerritos College in spring 2010. She transferred to UCLA in fall 2010, where she is majoring in English.

Today marks the first day of the third week of the fall quarter at UCLA.  That means that we have had between 6 and 8 sessions of each class so far, depending on the frequency of meetings within the week.  Somehow, it feels like a lot more.  And as usual, I already feel like I’ve fallen behind.

All complaints aside, I’ve had to deal with several new questions that have been brought to my attention.  Actually, just one really: WHAT DO I INTEND TO DO AFTER GRADUATION?  I feel that as a transfer student, this question is an especially tricky one.  After all, I spent two years working my butt off at Cerritos with the clear goal of getting accepted to a good university.  That happened, and I chose to attend UCLA, and here we are.  But where do I go from here?  I have this nagging feeling that I have grown complacent; that now that I’m officially studying at this school, I’ve patted myself on the back and gone “Job well done!”  After all, this was the metaphorical carrot dangling before my eyes.  But now what?

Yes, I’m working towards completing my English major…but then what?  During the first week of classes, the most popular question upon meeting fellow students was, “What will you do after graduation?”  I’ll admit, this question caught me majorly off-guard.  Oops, I guess I was supposed to be aiming for a further goal; that I was a little too shortsighted in my academic vision.  I am comforted knowing that I’m not the only person in limbo, although I am definitely finding it devastating to talk to those who have the rest of their lives already planned out.  I just want to shake them and scream “What the heck? You’re twenty-one!  Aren’t you still supposed to be flighty and impulsive and short-sighted like the rest of us?!”

Anyway, as I said, I’m not the only person in this fog of indecision, and a lot of the students that I’ve talked to have been attending UCLA for the complete four years, so it’s not like the two years at Cerritos have put me behind.  Knowing this is comforting; however, it does not remove the nagging feeling of indecision from the back of my mind.  Sometimes it just attacks me in a mental hit-and-run:

“What do I have for homework today?  We went over this in class so it must be…”

*BAM!*

-WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE?

“What? Oh my goodness, I’m not sure!  What will I do?  I feel so unprepared!”

-I HAVE NO ANSWERS; I’M JUST HERE TO MAKE YOU DOUBT YOURSELF! TEE-HEE-HEE!

And then it’s gone, and I’m left wondering what prompted this completely random mental assault from the inner depths of my brain.

So, what DO I want to do after graduation?  Do I want to go to graduate school?  That’s always a possibility.  I don’t know that I want to go to work right away.  It’s a little idealistic, especially when so many people are looking for jobs out there, but I’d like to do something that I enjoy, and that makes me feel like I’m making a difference.  After all, it’s all really a matter of setting my mind to what I want to do, and going out there and accomplishing it.  Mind over matter and all that jazz.  I guess stressing over this isn’t really helping at the moment.  What would probably be most helpful at the moment is to focus and do well in my classes so that if I do decide to apply to graduate school, I’ll have a greater scope of knowledge, as well as authority figures who will recognize me as a potential asset to the world and be more willing to help me achieve my goals.

Is anyone else majorly stressed in anticipation of graduation?  And do we community college students stand at a disadvantage when considering graduate school?

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1 Response to "Transfer Anxiety: What Do I Do Now that I Reached My Goal?"

Joanna, I was so relieved to read your blog. I feel the same way, but it is not something that I have just stumbled upon as graduation time creeps closer; I have been thinking about that ever since I transferred to the university. The original plan was to go to grad school, but now I am not so sure. To address your question: “And do we community college students stand at a disadvantage when considering graduate school?” I think there are a lot of factors contributing to this decision. One, it is an obstacle only being at the university for two years and sometimes one feels that others have to years ahead of us in terms of knowing professors and actually narrowing down a focus of study for grad school. There are other factors which I won’t get detailed about such as being first generation college student, money and the fact that we are still trying to define ourselves not only within the university system, within the community and this nation–and of course this becomes a factor on what to focus on and do with our lives! You’re not lost, at least there are many others like you and I advise going back and really think about what made you want to keep going to school, what pushed you to keep learning at a university level. good luck!

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