Counseling Center offers advice to curb seniors’ anxiety ahead of graduation

Students often head to the Career Center to seek career advice, resume help and support before graduation. The Counseling Center recognizes this is a stressful time for seniors, so they encourage students to seek out their services. Olivia Havre | Photographer

By Sarah Wang | Staff Writer

Every spring marks a critical period for thousands of seniors as they enjoy their final days on campus and prepare for life beyond graduation.

Amy Rylander, director of the Career Center, said Baylor keeps track of the number of graduates and their post-graduation status.

“We report our numbers for 180 days after graduation nationally, and they are available on our website,” Rylander said.

Rylander said in the annual survey the Career Center conducted in 2022, 90% of students who were seeking employment had secured a full-time job within 180 days of graduation, and 92% of students who wanted to go to graduate school had been accepted within 180 days of graduation.

As graduation looms, students often feel the pressure to find a job or land a spot in a graduate program to further their education. In light of this, the Counseling Center offers advice for how to deal with the anxiety of uncertainty.

According to Dr. Ed Rogers, assistant director of the Counseling Center, anxiety is a normal human emotion, and it is the No. 1 most frequently reported concern among students who come to the Counseling Center.

“It’s actually a part of healthy functioning,” Rogers said. “Our fear response and our anxiety tend to point us toward what matters in life and help identify potential dangers and difficulties that are coming up. It’s not positive or negative. It’s just a part of our experience.”

Rogers said an increased level of anxiety upon graduation is very common.

“That’s very normal,” Rogers said. “We tend to pick the worst thing happening in life and then narrow our focus down to that. If we’re only looking at the worst thing in life … so it can start to get overwhelming.”

Rogers said perspective is essential when experiencing and dealing with anxiety. He said he suggests focusing on what you can do in the moment rather than what you can’t do, seeking support from people you are close to and caring for your physical self by exercising, eating and sleeping well.

Rogers also said clinical levels of anxiety can be a mental health concern. He said students should seek help through the Counseling Center’s services if they feel they may need to. Togetherall is an anonymous space for students to share what’s going on in their lives and have other people listen and aid them, and Academic Live Care is a 24/7/365 mental health support line.

“Some anxiety is normal, especially around graduation,” Rogers said. “There are practical things you can do about your anxiety, and we have a lot of resources here through the Counseling Center to help if it is a more intense issue than that.”