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Is it normal to feel depressed about leaving undergrad?

  • Thread starter Dishsoap
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Hey guys,

I'm just wondering if it's normal to feel this way. "Depressed" isn't the right word (a bit overdramatic), but I keep seeing people around me with "senioritis" who can't wait to graduate and move on. My fellow students keep talking about how they want to fast-forward time until May, but meanwhile thinking about graduation for me just leaves a sinking feeling.

I honestly, truly love my professors here. I go to a very small school without a grad program, so I know all of them and they all know me. The two that I do research with are some of the most fun yet intelligent people in the world (well... that I've met) and I really just don't want to leave. I've done research with other groups at other universities (an REU, and another internship) and the experience just isn't the same. I love physics and absolutely want to pursue it further, but I'm terrified.

I have a feeling that the real issue is my fear of change - when I entered undergrad, I chose a university about a half hour away from home and took full advantage while adapting to college life, and still hated it at first since I don't make friends easily. There isn't a graduate school anywhere nearby, so I won't have that luxury next year. I know that the first year or so of graduate school can be the most trying (or so I've heard), and I really don't want this silly facet of my personality to be the thing that fails me out of grad school.

Surely there has got to be someone out there who felt this way before moving onto graduate school. I realize this is quite the "sissy" post, and that my only option is to suck it up and move on. I'm just hoping someone can give me tips or advice to make the transition a bit easier.
 

mathwonk

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well yes it is a normal part of life to feel stressed at having to leave a comfortable place where we have succeeded and feel supported and have to establish ourselves again. but if you have an acceptance at a grad school you respect, you can take some satiafaction in the fact that they value you and respect what you have done. and even if that still lies ahead you have the research you have done to be proud of and to spring off in future. this is just part of growing up and getting out on your own. others have done it and so can you. try not to dwell on being depressed. Maybe get in touch with some friends who are already looking forward happily to it and listen to what they say as to why.
 

Maylis

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I look forward to being paid to work rather than paying to work!
 

Choppy

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I think it's normal to feel like you're going to miss undergrad. Especially when your future isn't all that certain.

I know that for a lot of my friends, as undergrad came to an end, the reality of the real world came crashing down on them in fourth year. All of a sudden the question of what they were going to do with a degree in X was a lot more of a tangible reality than it had been when they'd picked that path out of high school. I had a lot of friends in kinesiology for example and those that didn't make it into physiotherapy had some struggles figuring out what direction they wanted to go in. (It actually turned out well for many of them, but there was no shortage of stress as undergrad wound down.)

And you know that a lot of the freedoms that you enjoy as a student are likely coming to a close. While most students are constrained financially, there's a certain freedom to being an undergrad. So long as you make it to class and get your assignments in on time, your time is your own. You have the opportunity to make friends like no other time in your life because you're in an environment where virtually everyone around you is at the same stage of life, is an adult, but at the same time is focused on self-development and improvement and education and exploration.

As undergrad comes to a close often, so does that exploration stage of life. You have some data now and you have to make some decisions with it. It's not like all self-exploration is over, but the opportunities are just there as much.
 

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