Stories > Senior Panic or Peace

Senior Panic or Peace

Donna Messenger

Senior Panic is a real term used by college seniors for many years. It refers to the last semester (or even whole school year) before you graduate. Reality is beginning to set in that you are graduating soon and then you’ll have to get a real job (not just the college job working in the cafeteria). You will need a place to live. And what’s involved with all of that? What if you don’t get a job right away? And so panic ensues!

As far as the TCK life goes, often this creates a greater panic than most of your mono-cultural friends  have experienced. Many of them have the safety net of moving back home after graduation. Actually, studies show that 80% of college graduates move back home. And you know that’s not really an option for most MKs. So, what does that mean for you?

The Apostle Paul had a long-time mentoring relationship with Timothy. He considered him a son in the faith. In his second letter to the young believer, Paul wrote, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Tim. 1:7). May I suggest that PEACE could be a great substitute for PANIC?

P—Pray for wisdom and direction. The Lord has a plan for you (Jer. 29:11; Prov. 3:5-6: and many others). Seek His leadership in your life and be patient with the process. You likely have loans to pay off after you graduate, so you may need to take a basic kind of job that’s not in your major. Use the time in that job to concentrate on paying off your debt. You can still keep looking for the job of your dreams, but in the meantime, be diligent with your time and efforts and trust God to show you the next steps in His good time.

E—Enlist some help from others. Perhaps you’ve made some good friends in college and several of you could go together to rent an apartment for a year or two. That will save on rent and other expenses while you build job experience and pay off your loans. Maybe your grandparents or another family member would let you live with them for a while.

A—Ask questions.  You may want to encourage your MuKappa chapter to sponsor a session on “Adulting” that would invite alumni or faculty/staff people who can be a panel to answer practical questions about life after college—buying a car, renting an apartment, setting up and paying for utilities, or sharing expenses with roommates (even food expenses, so that you don’t have to have three gallons of milk in the fridge!). If a workshop like this isn’t available, find someone who can help you with these details—friends who have graduated and are doing this now, family, or friends from your church are usually willing to help.

C—Community. Wherever you land, make sure you look for a place of community. One of the easiest ways to find community is to choose a place to live near some of your friends (or even with them, if you can rent an apartment together). A great place to find community is to find a church home as quickly as you can.  Consider checking in with some churches that have supported your family. They are often willing to help you as you get settled into adult life. If you can, find other TCKs nearby so you can encourage each other through this transition. You might want to review things you learned about being a TCK. It might help you understand a little better what you’re going through.

E—Enjoy the Transition. OK, I know that sounds strange to say. And I know you remember the pangs of the transition from high school to college. You probably have some memories of difficulties in that transition. And, as a general rule, transition is more to be “endured” than “enjoyed.” All this may be true, but my challenge to you is to choose joy (read the book of Philippians, which Paul wrote from prison, you know). In the end, this might be the most exciting adventure of your life. You’ll make new friends. You’ll find new ways to trust God as you venture into the learning curves of a new job. I just know that those years can be really fun—lots of freedom to design your adult life the way you want. Enjoy it all!

Be sure to check back here with MuKappa periodically. Several years back we started a retreat just for post-college MKs (and internationals are always welcome). It’s usually either the end of October or first part of November and it’s held at a camp in Michigan. Details will be listed as the dates are selected and get closer. It’s a great time to connect with other MKs who are going through all these same transitions.

So, even though Senior Panic is a reality of life, please trust God and view the time as “Peace.” Choose not to fret if everything isn’t perfectly falling into place as you’d like. Know that God is always more concerned with the journey than the destination, though He knows that as well. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:23).