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Like expecting a package in the mail, self-doubt is sure to come for college seniors graduating across the country. Even with experience and internships, you can still apply to jobs, look at the qualifications and think to yourself, “Can I actually do this?”

There is this feeling some young students experience that tells them their college years are completely separate from the “real world.” But we all need to remind ourselves that the life we are living now—whether in college or working a full-time job—is the real world.

I am guilty of this. I separate my life into these chunks so I can think of everything more efficiently. I never really considered life after college until I got closer to graduating, which is something I’m not used to because I am a planner. I separate my life into chunks because at transition points, like being 36 days away from graduation, it can be hard to look at your life as a whole and not just focus on the past few years.

When you are job searching it can also affirm your achievements or bring to your attention things that need improvement. Imposter syndrome is also apparent in many college students who are entering or leaving higher education. According to Medical News Today, imposter syndrome is when someone doubts their achievements and fears someone they work with will call them out on it. The article also cited research from 2011 that found 70 percent of people feel that way at least once in their life.

I’ve felt this way before working my way up to my current role at The Lumberjack. An NAU alumna, who now works for Amazon, also discussed this when she came to campus to present to students. It is something that happens to a lot of people, even if it’s just a passing thought. And no one ever calls you out for being an “imposter.”

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Although this feeling might come up, it is OK, and it usually goes away. Being confident in your abilities is something that takes time and can be affirmed by starting your career. Even if you take longer than others to find a job, it doesn’t have anything to do with your abilities. It takes so much time to find a job—I started in the beginning of February.

I got a tattoo last October that says “keep going” on my right foot. During this time in my life, it's a solid reminder to just push forward whether I hear from potential employers or not. For other seniors who are graduating next month, I give you this reminder as well. Don’t fall into imposter syndrome, don’t doubt yourself—keep going!

For Flagstaff residents in their full-time positions, I’m sure you have felt this way at some point or another, but everything worked out in the end.

My dad has recounted his job history to me and it’s made me realize you never know in the moment how your life is going to turn out until you look back and see everything that you accomplished. He left his home in Pennsylvania at the age of 18 and moved to Chicago all by himself to work. Looking back, I don’t think he knew he would eventually move to California and stay there for most of his life. Even with my college years, I can look back and see how far I’ve come just in four years. Imagine what we can all achieve in the next 20 years if we just push forward despite any obstacles.

The job search is stressful, but necessary for everyone. You are ready for the “real world” because you’ve been living in it your whole life.

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Ariel Cianfarano is the circulation director of The Lumberjack, Northern Arizona University's student newspaper. College Chronicles aims to connect Flag Live! readers to various aspects of campus life.

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