The Student News Site of Northern Michigan University

The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind Editorial Sessions
About us

The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

Opinion — Managing senior anxiety and imposter syndrome

Joleigh Martinez/NW

As I begin my senior year of college, I find myself having lots of anxiety and a level of imposter syndrome regarding the uncertainty of what is ahead. A lot of what is next in my life is up in the air. Will I go to grad school? Will I find a career in media? Will I relocate to a big city? Will I move close to home? Will I go abroad?    

Something I was not prepared for was when you introduce yourself as a senior, the other person you are speaking with will immediately ask, “What are your plans after college?” And although I have a few ideas, I do not have my plans all finalized. This question sends me into panic mode. 

I do not know what I am doing to be honest, and I just declared a new major for the fourth time. I decided to be a double major last semester with two semesters left before I walk the stage in May. It is okay to not have it all figured out. 

So, if you are like me and having an existential crisis about what to do next, where to go next, just breathe. Everyone is in the same boat as you.

Story continues below advertisement

What I wanted to do this time last year was to work as a journalist for somewhere like The Washington Post or The New York Times, and now I want to do community organizing and advocacy. Life deviates from the plan and it all works out; it just has to. 

Outside of a career, I also think there is so much pressure to know who you are through and through by the time you complete college. But I discover new parts of myself daily. 

In the past year, I have learned that:

  • I am so incredibly passionate about social justice. All people deserve the rights of safety, housing, safe drinking water, access to education and the list goes on. 
  • I love writing about anything and everything.
  • I love to learn, especially about things I am passionate about and things I have no prior knowledge about.

And some things I am still figuring out:

  • I do not know if there is a career in media for me. 
  • I do not know if the big city is the right move for me after college. I might want to stay in Marquette.  
  • I am not sure if I even want to go to grad school.

But what I do know is that my present and my future self will make the right choices for my success. I know this because past me has made the right choices to lead me to this moment. 

And although I have made some mistakes, lost some people along the way, said the wrong thing and fallen flat on my face, I still made it to today, and for now that will have to serve as a win in my book. I have made it this far, but I did not go this far to just get this far. A bit of a redundant quote, but I think it stands true. 

I have earned my place and paved my way. I am a senior, after all, I made it this far. I have completed six semesters, five of which were on the dean’s list. Sometimes it is necessary to remind ourselves how far we have come, because I often forget how much I have accomplished.   

There is a lot of power and bravery in admitting that you do not know what you do not know. We should be lifelong learners and continue to make plans and learn along the way. We should not have all the answers and we should continuously learn about ourselves, one another and the world around us.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Ryley Wilcox
Ryley Wilcox, News Editor
I found my passion for journalism during my sophomore year of college, writing articles here and there for the North Wind. Since joining the staff this past semester as the news writer, I have been able to learn more about writing and collect some new passions from the stories I have covered. I have always been a learner who was curious to know more about everything and figure out how things worked, which I have been able to do in my time at the North Wind. In my remaining time in college and on staff, I cannot wait to learn even more and find some new passions along the way.