So, I am but a semester away from graduating from college as a Computer Programmer in Canada. All is well in the grades department - I've completed all assigned work and maintained a ~4.0 GPA throughout the course of my studies. However, I still feel anxious and have a sense that I'm entering the workforce without the base skill-set requisite for success.

Is it commonplace for students to feel lost and/or potentially inadequate prior to graduation? Are these types of thoughts and feelings common among new graduates?

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    Probably such feelings are common among humans in general. If it makes you feel any better, I have met very famous scientists who seem just as insecure and anxious about their own abilities, even after reaching great achievements.
    – Dan Romik
    Dec 27, 2016 at 16:31
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    I voted to reopen because this question is about something specific and rather different from the other question. Dec 28, 2016 at 11:43
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    @aparente001 Fortunately, as part of my degree we actually do ~ 3 week work placement / internship in April at the end of the final semester. Albeit it's not a very long period, but something is better than nothing to hopefully help ease the anxiety of the unknown and get a foot in the door somewhere, so to speak. Also, even though with these placements we're generally free to apply anywhere relevant we wish, the employers where students will be permitted to take placements must provide relevant work and experience -- alleviating the risk of ending up doing busy work.
    – DevonRyder
    Dec 28, 2016 at 14:35
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    As soon as you start the sentence "Is it commonplace for students to feel anxious about...?", you can pretty much assume the answer is "yes", regardless of what you put in the "...". You can also replace "students" with people in any other stage of academia. Dec 28, 2016 at 21:04

1 Answer 1


This is common. Any coming future you are unsure of will make you feel anxious. You know you can succeed in college because you have experienced it but you don't know if you can succeed in the workplace as you have not experienced it. You may be a more generally anxious person like me. I graduated top of class from my small state college and was super anxious about going to a well known grad school.

I've learned a few lessons since then. The best advice I can give is this: (1) Be committed to practicing thankfulness and contentment and (2) be committed to adapting and learning in whatever situation you face.

If you know that you can still recognize the good things about your future work situation and come from a place of humility instead of entitlement (which is easy to do even when you aren't a jerk) you will be more at peace with the future. Be thankful for the success you've had in college. Grow amazement of the possibility of things still going well.

And if you are committed to being flexible and finding solutions to things that aren't working out as well as you'd like, you will be more at peace with the future knowing that you have some power to improve things. You aren't going to know everything you need to know for you job. But if you know you can learn, that is enough.

  • That certainly makes a lot of sense. I am also a rather anxious individual in all aspects of my life. I guess I sort of have the unrealistic expectation that I should have all the answers by now, but that ideology is flawed. I feel a lot of my anxiety regarding graduation stems from the fact that I don't really know what I want to do. I mean, I know I want to continue on in the field, but the scope of possible jobs is so vast, especially with further training.
    – DevonRyder
    Dec 27, 2016 at 16:45
  • Yes, the number of options is daunting. That's why I wrote (1): you eventually have to just pick something and go with it, being thankful for the good things about it. There isn't going to be a perfect solution. See Cal Newport's books where he discusses that "passion" is highly overrated as a basis for career decisions. He says gaining mastery, autonomy, and purpose in your job is more satisfying.
    – abnry
    Dec 27, 2016 at 16:47
  • That's an intriguing outlook. I guess I've never really stopped to think that your passion and your skill-sets need not necessarily fully intertwine in the workforce to the fullest extent. One can be very skilled at something while having a passion lying in a different place. At least that's sort of what I take from that :). I think for me I just need to accept that I'm not going to get it right the first time. I'm likely going to end up moving around for the first few years until I find the right fit.
    – DevonRyder
    Dec 27, 2016 at 16:52
  • Yes, I think you need to accept things won't always work out "perfectly". I'd strongly recommend you check out Newport's books "So Good They Can't Ignore You" and "Deep Work".
    – abnry
    Dec 27, 2016 at 17:01

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