They are caterpillars emerging from their cocoons in a world they are still trying to figure out all while trying to understand themselves.
That's right, they're college students.
It's the time in their lives when they're learning the meaning of balance. It's exams, group projects, tests, extracurricular activities, and a job or two.
With so much falling on their shoulders it's not hard to imagine that they would be stressed or even anxious about what's to come. Is this stress preparation for the real world or too much to handle for college students?
Lisa Riley, the assistant clinical manager for emergency services in San Francisco says that nursing school was a different kind of stress than what she feels in her day-to-day life.
She says, "My job stress is not only mentally stressful but physically stressful as well... feeling and dealing with stress in school helped me cope with that."
Multimedia journalist, Jetske Wauran echoes Riley's thoughts.
"In college my mind was racing," says Wauran. "But for me work is more stressful because of short deadlines."
The real-world preparation comes with many different layers of stress. Cognitive Behavioral Therapist Dr. Donna Wilcox says this includes finding their voice and their individuality among their peers while also trying not to alienate the family they've left behind. They're growing and maturing into the adult they need to be after graduation.
Wilcox says they're also questioning the path they have chosen to take.
Did they pick the right major for the job market? When should they start applying for jobs?
This stress seems to be isolated within the college walls. Recent graduate Derek Krayenhagen says finding a job wasn't that difficult, because his internship led to full-time employment.
Now he is having to handle a completely different kind of stress than college "prepared" him for.
"I have hourly deadlines," he says. "Everything I do has to be done the day of, not in a couple of weeks."
While this is something he didn't feel college prepared him for, he does admit that the amount of stress felt in school put him on high-alert when he entered his job.
"To be honest, I'm way less stressed now... I was stressed all the time in college. Now I'm not worried about getting bad grades or doing poorly. I'm stressed about what's going on TV and there are other people counting on me."
For KMEG Meteorologist Lynnette Grant stress in college weighed her down, but in the real-world it's an adrenaline rush. She's finally doing what she loves to do, and her stress is just a race against the clock. Which, she says, is better than the stress of good grades, family situations, and anxiety in college.
While stress in college helps students understand the feeling of being overwhelmed, it is not the same kind of experience they'll have in the real-world.
In the case of KMEG News Director and Anchor Diana Castillo, she traded exams for rating periods. Coursework was replaced with social media monitoring and nightly newscasts. Group projects are gone, but now she works with her "team" (the newsroom staff) everyday. She built skills in college like reading scripts and working with other people that have helped her in her career.
The verdict is in.
College stress is not the same as real-world stress, but it is important preparation. It allows students the chance to cope with their anxiety or overwhelmed feelings in an environment that is less serious than their job.
Getting a bad grade is better than getting fired.
Not meeting a deadline in school is better than missing one in your job.