As they begin their last semester of college, the members of the Class of 2014 are in a strange place. Some of them have job offers and graduate school acceptances, but many of them do not. Whether they’re happy to graduate or wishing they had four more years, they should be handled delicately. Here are some tips from an expert (i.e., one of those stressed seniors) about what to say to these tender children.
Do not ask what they’re doing next year.
Most seniors do not have concrete plans yet. Even the few who do have law school acceptances, offers from consulting firms or Teach for America acceptances aren’t exempt from the self-doubt and anxiety that can come from contemplating the post-grad life. If you’ve somehow found a senior who doesn’t freak out when considering what lies beyond May 2014, at the very least they’re tired of talking about it.
Do not ask what it feels like to be a second semester senior.
It feels scary and exciting and weird and wonderful. Often at the same time. Do not use this as small talk unless you really want to know those things.
Do ask for advice.
Seniors are full of advice, and they’re also really self-absorbed, so they love giving it. They have wisdom about basically everything: classes, internships, relationships, extracurriculars and friendships.
But do not ask about the future of their relationships and friendships.
Your single friends have never felt more hopelessly single than they do right now, after winter break and a litany of aunts and uncles asking if they have a “special someone.” Those in relationships are all worried about whether they’ll last post-May 17. This also applies to all of their friendships, so don’t ask how much they’re going to miss their best friends. The answer? A lot.
Do accompany them to the Tombs.
Seniors love Tombs and as many of them begin 99 Days next month, they’re going to need some company. If you’re not 21, there’s always weekend brunch, lunch and dinner.
Do not judge them for the #SWUG life.
A SWUG is a senior wash-up girl. The SWUG life means going out without getting dressed up, staying in to drink wine and watch movies and napping at inappropriate times. We know your judgement is just envy.
Do be their cheerleader.
Whether they’re applying to grad programs, going to a job interview, starting a blog or finally showering, support them in their endeavors! A cheerful text or a hug might just make their day. For my fellow seniors, here’s a piece of advice from the latest episode of “Parks and Recreation” and my personal hero, Leslie Knope:
In times of stress or moments of transition, sometimes it can feel the whole world is closing in on you. When that happens you should close your eyes, take a deep breath, listen to the people who love you when they give you advice and remember what really matters.
One Reply to “How to Talk to a Second Semester Senior”
Welcome to the real world, second semester seniors. College has done very little to prepare you for it. Here, no one will “handle you delicately” or view you as “tender children.” Now, get a job. Any job. If you aren’t offered a position at a consulting firm or a law firm, go out and find one of those jobs Americans supposedly won’t do, and do it. Don’t expect anything to be fair. Life is not, and will never be fair. Don’t wait for anyone to pat you on the back for your hard work. That’s not how hard work works. You do it because you’re supposed to, and you shut up about it. Now, when the self-congratulatory, narcissistic circle jerk is quite finished, I have some shopping carts that need to be returned from the parking lot, and these burgers aren’t flipping themselves.