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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CUA chapter.

Everyone tells you that the four years you’re in college fly by, but it wasn’t until this past August did this reality hit me. As I packed my clothes and belongings to move back to my college campus for the last time, I suddenly realized that it WOULD be the last time I’d do this. It’d be the last time I’d move into a new dorm room and set up my wall decorations. It’d be the last time I’d take classes as an undergraduate student. It’d be the last time I’d be living with all of my friends in the same place.

This thought sent me into a spiral. I’m not one who welcomes change easily, and I certainly was not ready to have all of these “lasts” when deep down I sometimes still feel like a freshman. I couldn’t help but overthink everything – Had I lived my college years to the fullest? How could I possibly squeeze in all that I wanted to do before I left? Where would I be going next? 

Senior year of college can be a scary time. Looming graduate school essays, job applications, and trying to find the answer to “So, what will you be doing after graduation?” can be a real damper on what should be the most fun part of your college career. It can be really easy to second guess how you’ve spent your four years of college or live in regret, thinking you didn’t do enough. But it’s important to remember that the only thing getting in the way of you living senior year to the fullest is YOU! There are small changes you can make to your mindset and to your day-to-day schedule that can help you have fun during your last year of college. Here are a few ways I’ve vowed to get out of my comfort zone and focus on what’s important this next year: 

  1. Make a bucket list – and stick to it! 

I know I know, this is the most basic tip I could put on this list. But if you’re anything like me, you’re more likely to do something if you get it out of your head and onto a piece of paper. So, during the first week of school, I spent an hour researching fun things to do in D.C. and wracking my brain for all of the activities I had hoped to do but never got to over the last three years. Seeing a physical list of the things I can and want to do inspires me to get out of my room and do something when I have a morning off or a weekend that’s free. It also helps to have ideas ready to go for those days when you can’t decide how to spend a few hours! Even if you don’t get to everything, it’s a great reminder that there really is no such thing as “nothing to do.” 

  1. Don’t wait to have fun on the weekends. 

As a chronic overachiever, I have never been a person to go off campus and do something during the week. I always convinced myself that I had too much to do that night or that I had to get up early the next day. So I’d take advantage of all of the free time I had during the week and spend it on homework and other responsibilities, and I waited with bated breath for the weekend to come so that I could be free to do whatever I wanted. This year, I don’t want to keep myself trapped in my room Monday-Friday, so I’ve made a conscious effort to get myself off campus at least once a week, not counting the weekends. Although this was a scary step to take as someone who finds comfort in her weekly routine, it has been a freeing experience! It’s important to note that, by going out, I don’t always mean going to a bar. My friends and I have seen shows in the city, enjoyed dinner off campus, and have gone shopping as just a few examples of ways we have fun together. There’s a ton to do during the week, whether you’re the party type or not. It just takes a little effort to plan it! 

  1. Don’t let homework consume you.

As previously hinted, I have always been an “academic validation” kind of gal. Schoolwork has always come first to me while in college, and I’ve said no to a lot of fun experiences and chances to make memories with my friends because I have an assignment to work on or a test to study for. Early in this semester, I had a professor talk to us about something he called “slacking off on purpose.” He encouraged us to take homework seriously, but to sometimes say no to doing work so that we can say yes to doing other things that could become meaningful moments. This opened my eyes – if a professor is telling me to not stress about homework as much this year, why am I stopping myself from having fun? So, I have tried to adopt this mindset and allow myself to choose things over homework sometimes. Now, don’t get me wrong, I still work very hard in school (after all, I can’t force the overachiever out of me overnight). But, telling myself it’s not the end of the world if I don’t do an assignment right away or to the best of my ability has actually helped me to learn to love learning again and make more great memories with my friends (a win-win, if you ask me). 

  1. Take more pictures. 

During freshman year, I carried around a Polaroid camera with me everywhere I went. Although it was big and kind of annoying to bring along, I made an effort to capture both mundane and exciting memories with my friends, and by the end of the year, I had countless photos that really captured my freshman-year experience. Since then, I’ve gotten a little lazier with taking photos, especially with a physical camera. But this year, I hope to rekindle that love for photography and be that obnoxious one in the friend group who is always taking photos. I’m the sentimental type, so although it may be annoying now, I know by the end of the year I’ll be happy if I have a bunch of photos to look through. 

Although these ideas are already helping me to have a fun senior year, it’s important to remember that not everyone’s perfect last year of college is going to look the same! I encourage you to spend some time with yourself and think about what you want to prioritize for this upcoming year. As long as you keep those priorities at the forefront of your mind, you’ll surely have an amazing year.

Hi! I'm Molly, a current Media/Communications and Politics Major at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC! I love baking, taking pictures, and adventures in the city!