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17 Stages of Having a Year-Long Senior Project

Senior projects offer the opportunity for students to work on a project that they find creative and inspiring. Whether it’s a research paper, lab design or public event, these endeavors are meant to test our skills while giving us the chance to explore a field or topic we’re really interested in. Of course, senior projects are meant to be difficult. But for those brave few who take on a project that spans over the whole school year, there are struggles that semester-long/quarter-long projects just don’t have.

Like when you first start, thinking that you have plenty of time to get stuff done

But once you ~actually~ start, you realize your senior project is a lot more complicated than you thought

You have, like, eight months to finish it though, so you’re chilling…

…Until your advisor reminds you of 34832957348 things you need to get done by next week or the whole thing will fall apart in two months

You realize your whole life is consumed by your senior project…and will be for the rest of the year

As you try to balance your project, classes, work, club responsibilities, a social life and sleeping, you start to really doubt whether you can pull it off

But you have NOT worked your ass off for four years just to fail now! So you keep pushing through for several weeks with a lot of caffeine and little sleep

Your project is finally starting to come together about halfway through the year…until you hit a totally unexpected problem

Most of your friends have already finished their senior projects at this point, but you still have four more months left

While you’re still really interested in your project, you can’t help feeling slightly (very) resentful of it too

Your advisor won’t grant you extensions because that pushes back every other part of your project too

The to-do list is endless but not finishing this on time will mean no walking at graduation

Spring quarter becomes an sleepless, panic-filled blur 

When you remember that you willingly chose this project that takes all year, you mentally beat your past self up

Only a few more days left…the clock is ticking and you’re nearly done

DONE. It’s done. You turn in your senior project to your advisor, then go home and sleep for 24 hours. 

After you’ve taken some time to relax, you ultimately feel satisfied and know that a year-long senior project was definitely worth it.

Valentina Sainato is a 5th year English major and Ethnic Studies minor at Cal Poly SLO. She loves to read, always having a book in hand. She's also a devoted dancer who knows 12 different styles, and runs the SLO swing dancing scene. When she isn't working as a writing tutor, you can find her at any coffee shop in town (probably reading) or trying her best at the gym. Valentina is thrilled to be a writer and the senior editor for Her Campus Cal Poly!
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