Anxiety, excitement, seniors, are you ready to graduate?

Audrey Holcomb (senior) at Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA. March 28, 2023. Liang Zhu/The Occidental

As graduation approaches, many seniors find themselves reflecting on their plans for the future, the lessons that can be learned from the past and the role that Occidental has played in their maturation. Graduation represents a change, and a potential challenge, according to Miari Costarelli (senior).

“I feel uneasy, I don’t like change,” Costarelli said. “I definitely want to stay longer at this school. I don’t want to be in school any longer for undergrad, but I want to be here. So there’s a weird relationship I have where I don’t want to be doing schoolwork, but I do want to be at Oxy.”

The change may be momentous, but according to Costarelli, her time at college has left her more confident in her ability to adapt and thrive in the face of the unfamiliar.

According to Audrey Holcomb (senior), the upcoming change, while significant, is not a complete break from her life so far.

“It feels a little intimidating. I’m just going to be out in the world now without structure,” Holcomb said. “But I feel kind of prepared because I live pretty far off campus. I do feel like I have already spent a little bit of time outside of school and working on stuff outside of school. So I have a little bit of a basis for what it might look like.”

The lack of certainty around the impending departure, according to Julian Garman (senior), lends itself to equal parts excitement at leaving behind academics and anxiety over the unprecedented entry into the workforce.

“It’s good in some ways, bad in others,” Garman said. “On the one hand, there’s definitely the reality that the workforce is somewhat of an unknown, but by the same hat [sic], I kind of need a break from academics at this point.”

But Occidental’s academics are precisely what will be missed most, according to Holcomb.

“I guess honestly, as I’m finishing out here, I feel a little bit sad about all the stuff I didn’t take advantage of. I wish I could have taken more history classes here, and taken more theater classes and just kind of had a more expansive approach to my education,” Holcomb said. “Obviously, I’ve loved being an English major. And I’m glad I got to take so many classes. But if I could go back now that I know what I gravitate to the most, I wish I would have spread out my classes over a larger variety of subjects.”

As rewarding as her experience was at Occidental, Costarelli said her first year proved to be an adjustment.

“My experience at Oxy has been wonderful overall, but it definitely had a little bit of a bumpy start,” said Costarelli. “As a freshman, I definitely felt like I wasn’t sure if I was at the right place. I felt a bit lost. Things that I feel like a lot of freshmen feel.”

All the seniors interviewed said that they were graduating with majors different than those they originally planned on.

“First I was engineering and physics and I didn’t like it,” said Garman. “I was not happy. I decided to do cognitive science because it was a bit more flexible.”

According to Costarelli, what dramatically improved her matriculation, and what she would recommend to any first year students struggling with insecurities around newly attending college, was getting more involved in college life and taking advantage of some of the extracurricular opportunities available at Occidental.

To take on leadership in areas that I didn’t think that I could handle has been very rewarding, has expanded my social circle and has expanded my knowledge of how things on campus work and how things generally work in life,” said Costarelli. “There’s only four years that you get. I know that the days feel long. And like sometimes you’re annoyed at the lines in the Marketplace, or whatever it may be, but you’ll never be here again. You only get to be here for a while. Take advantage of every opportunity. Do the things that you want to do at school that you’ll never get the chance to do again. And just take advantage of being in this location at this time of your life.”

Contact Henry Dorosin at


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here