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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Cal Lutheran chapter.

Exactly three years ago, I was moving into a dorm room for the first time. I can vividly remember sitting in the courtyard of my building, surrounded by other frightened freshmen, while our RAs began to explain college life. I returned to my bedroom and taped photos of my family and friends from home on the plain white wall, hoping to bring myself some comfort in this unfamiliar environment. Today, I sit in my living room with my best friends — people that young girl had not yet met — and talk about our plans for the future. None of us can believe that that future will begin in only 9 short months. 

It seems that my college career has passed by in the blink of an eye. At 18, I rolled my eyes at the adults around me who said to enjoy every moment, because it would be over before I knew it. In those moments, I couldn’t see the end of the tunnel, I was full of fear of how I could possibly make it through four whole years of university. Now, after overcoming many obstacles and getting through all my struggles, I find myself wishing for more time. 

Sometimes, at two in the morning, when I am attempting to string together words as I sip another cup of coffee, it has felt like I would never finish college. Through every quiz, exam, paper, and project, I’ve tried my best to keep from drowning. But at the end of each semester, when my grades come back and the stress falls away, I realize just how much all those long nights were worth it. I’m proud of myself, more so than I knew was possible, for getting this far. Though I still have to survive two more semesters, it’s comforting to know that I’ve gotten this far. Yet I still live in fear of what lies ahead.

When you become a senior, the first question you are asked is always “what do you plan to do after graduation”. After a while, it becomes exhausting — but it also often fills me with dread. I once again find myself in the stress of applications, only I find trying to get into a graduate program to be much more stressful. While undergrad felt like an opportunity to find myself, grad school seems like the time to really establish who I am — or who I want to be. As I sort through personal essays and detailed applications, all while continuing my class work, I feel the same nerves that first appeared in high school. My future at present is so uncertain, a prospect that makes me uneasy. 

All of my years of education have led up to this point, and as I look towards my future, I feel excited about what’s to come. But I’m trying my best to remember a phrase my father used to tell me often — the only reality is, we are here and it is now. Though I will be worrying about grad school applications and internships, I have to remember to enjoy my last year of college. I have to go to football games, stay up late with my friends, and take walks through campus in the dark. Right now, I am still a college student, and I intend to enjoy these moments as much as I can.

Caroline Lopez

Cal Lutheran '23

Hello! My name is Caroline and I’m an English major at California Lutheran University. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, and love spending time going to the beach and traveling around the state. I am a passionate book nerd who spends all her free time reading the classics, watching old movies, and writing!