With the spring semester winding down, the seniors in my classes at Boston College have entered a short-timer's state of in-betweenness, balancing youthful optimism with anxiety and fatalism brought on by a bad job market. Some are hellbent on partying as hard as they can, but it's an increasingly forced and empty exercise in nostalgia. It's too late — about four years too late — for them to be playing at slacker irresponsibility, and they know it. Most seem ready, even impatient, to look beyond campus to the world of work.
Those with a job to report to after graduation feel lucky to have it but are already wondering if it's good enough. Those without a job who aren’t going straight on to grad school are preparing for uncertainty and for some cut-rate adventures in marginal adulthood — unless they're returning home to their parents, in which case they're feeling secret relief edged with shame and despair.