With graduation approaching, many students panic over a variety of post-grad responsibilities such as repaying hefty loans, securing a full-time job, and maintaining a social life. And when it comes to romance, singles worry over the odds of getting married in the future.
Many young adults are terrified of never meeting anyone new after graduating. Do you go to bars? Do you look to online dating? Do you rely on friends and family to set you up with someone? When relationship anxiety gets out of hand, university seniors start to panic. This fear of not finding "The One" causes students to partake in a phenomenon known as “Senior Scramble."
What is Senior Scramble?
Senior scramble refers to the act of a senior student desperately trying to lock in a romantic relationship before graduation. That way, they don't have to worry about trying to find someone in the mysterious post-grad life. In order to secure a significant other with only a few weeks left, many seniors tend to lower their standards in one way or another. Why would someone scramble to settle for someone less than perfect? Because they're afraid of never meeting someone in the work world.
School gives young adults the opportunity to meet someone new every day. College campuses range from as little as 5,000 students, to populations greater than 30,000. So when walking to class, studying in the library, or going out to parties, you're bound to meet a new face. If faces start to get familiar, you always get a fresh set every time the semester changes. However, this isn't the case for the work world.
For the most part, you'll run into the same faces every day at work. And, more often than not, you probably won't find datable material in the office. First, fresh graduates are usually the youngest in an office of established, married adults. Second, you don't want to ruin future work by incorporating an ex. So if you can't date anyone at work, then you'll have to look elsewhere. But the question is: where? And when you come to this realization about post-grad life, you might end up scrambling.
You can think of senior scrambling as a coping method for relationship anxiety. Do any of these insecurities sound familiar?
- I'll always be single.
- No one will ever love me.
- I'll never meet anyone new.
These negative thoughts are common for those with anxiety, who tend to only highlight the worst possible outcomes and realities of a given situation. This is known as catastrophizing. But to break this habit, you have to realize that these are only a few possibilities out of a whole spectrum of good and bad outcomes.
Those who lock onto negative thinking behaviors endanger themselves for unhealthy coping techniques such as senior scramble. But have you considered more positive outcomes? Maybe the love of your life never went to your school and lives across the country in the town you'll move to five years down the line. Unfortunately, anxiety likes to hide these optimistic futures from us, making it harder for us to believe in a happy ending.
How to Stop Yourself from Scrambling
First off, understand that the end of school doesn't translate to the end of your romantic life. Given, you will have to work harder to meet someone special. That means you'll have to put some effort into going out and surrounding yourself with new faces. Although bars and clubs are the first places that come to mind when thinking about possible avenues to meet people, there are many more that don't require alcohol and extroverted personalities. You can always get involved with special interest groups, frequent your favorite coffee shop, and do so much more. Nine-to-five might be reserved for work, but there's a lot you can do at night and on the weekends.
Second, you'll have to train yourself to think on the bright side. Graduation marks a huge milestone in everyone's life, and you're rightfully stressed out and nervous to begin a new chapter in life. But chances are, everything won't go wrong and there are things to look forward to. Those with anxiety will argue that no one can guarantee a better tomorrow. But coupled with that logic, no one can guarantee you a dismal future.
As cliché as it sounds, love just happens, and you can't force it. Scrambling to cope with your relationship and graduation anxieties isn't the best idea. Rather than lowering your standards for a safety net of a significant other, try being patient. An alternative coping method would be to remind yourself of the following fact fresh graduates often forget: you're still young.
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Date of original publication: March 28, 2014
Updated: March 23, 2016