I remember three years ago, when I was just a little itty bitty Freshman, cramming hard for my final exams. I was surprised by the sheer amount of content I had covered in just fifteen weeks, and I was desperately trying to cram all of it into my extra-fried brain. Ah, those were the good old days.
I remember two years ago, when I was a Sophomore, thinking I had the whole final exam thing down. I was so cocky then, shirking on my studies because I believed that I knew the secret to studying for finals (hint: there is no secret–it’s always going to feel like hell in a handbasket). When I got my finals grades back, that brought me back down to earth real fast.
I remember one year ago, when I was a Junior, getting into my final exam study groove: listening to the ‘intense focus’ Spotify playlist, downing cups of coffee one after the other, making and memorizing hundreds of flashcards. I remember understanding that final exams are always going to be hell, but also realizing that they can be fun, too, if you enjoy your major.This year, I’m a Senior. I’m cramming pretty hard for my final exams, but I’m also struggling with my fair share of Senioritis. I’m trying to balance studying for finals with ‘Real World’ tasks, like packing, cleaning, and preparing for my move to Massachusetts, where I’ll start on my career path. This year, as a Senior, I’m realizing that I still don’t have my shit together, finals-wise or otherwise, and that that’s okay. I’m realizing what I didn’t know my Freshman or Sophomore year. I’m realizing that college isn’t about mastering your skill subject; it’s about diving more into your favorite topic, learning what you do and don’t know, what you do and don’t like, and what you do and don’t want to keep exploring. It’s not about memorizing your notes perfectly; it’s about taking concepts you’ve learned about in class and applying them to real world situations. College isn’t about getting a paper certificate; it’s about gaining knowledge, finding your passion, and understanding how you can use your skill set to make a difference in the world.
I’m appreciating finals as a Senior because I’m proud of what I’ve learned, and I’m excited to use my education to make an impact in the Real World.
I encourage all college students to appreciate final exams time in some way. Doing anything from grabbing coffee with your friends during the week, taking study breaks with Gilmore Girls, or organizing a study group will help you appreciate final exams time each semester. We are all privileged to go to college, and I think we should all try to remember that when things get stressful.
To all the Seniors out there specifically, I’d like to congratulate each and every one of you for making it to the end of your degree, no matter how long or bumpy the road getting there may have been. We’ve made it, friends! When you’re done with all your finals, take some time to celebrate–you’ve earned it.