The first week of classes during freshman year:
Going into each class not knowing anyone. You’re very aware of the fact that some people in your class already know each other, and there you are, awkwardly trying to get someone’s phone number, without it being weird, so you can have a contact in class.
The first week of classes during junior year:
Going into each class like it’s just another normal day of school and realizing you know a couple of people from each of your classes. Bumping into people from previous classes, campus organizations or someone who lived next to your dorm room last year.
“Oh, hey Natalie! How was your summer?”
“Oh my god, Rachel! I can’t believe we’re in the same class together! We HAVE TO study together”
Time flies. Two years ago, I was this clueless freshman, both anticipating and dreading the start of my new chapter – college, wondering if I’d fit in and if I was going to be okay on my own.
Two years later, stepping onto the all too familiar campus, with memories from the past years come rushing over me like waves.
The thing about being an upperclassman in college that’s different from being a freshman is connections.
We don’t really think about this every day, but over the course of our college years, we meet so many people constantly. We are expanding our social circle every single day, with each class we go to, each club meeting we attend, each conversation we have with a stranger who might later turn into an acquaintance.
With each connection we make, this place we once thought to be cold and foreign slowly turns into something that’s more familiar and welcoming – a home away from home.
Looking back, I didn’t really know anyone during my freshman year, besides people on my floor in my dorm. I had a really limited social circle. However, come sophomore year, I started getting really involved in school, joining multiple organizations (Her Campus at George Mason being one of the many), and everything just fell into place since then.
It’s one of the best feelings to be able to walk around campus and bump into people you know. It’s so heartwarming to know that despite our large student population, the student body is still small enough for us to see people we know around campus, and to still be able to have mutual connections with someone. What a small world.
Junior year is the roughest year, people always say. Some also say it’s the most rewarding year of college as you’re still in the safety net of school. When you become a senior, you’re going to be spending most of your energy worrying about life after graduation.
Yes, graduating from college is a wonderful thing and is a huge relief, but going into the real world can be daunting, especially for people who don’t know what they want to do with their lives precisely yet. During our senior year, most of us will be juggling multiple things at the same time, maybe it’s an internship, maybe it’s a course you’re required to take to graduate that you are struggling with, maybe it’s a couple of part-time jobs, or maybe it’s you having a mid-life crisis, unsure about your major and looking into possibly switching to another program. Senior year is the year of preparing for a whole new chapter of your life. Sad to say, but junior year is the last year of being… well, a kid.
This will be the perfect time to enjoy yourself one last time before all the adult responsibilities and the bitter truth of reality hit you.
For the juniors out there like me, enjoy this time and stop complaining (I know I still do sometimes, but we are all working progress). Put your heart into your classes, pour your soul into the organizations you’re involved in, and give your attention to your internship or job. Give everything your everything before you don’t have the chance to anymore.
I believe in you all, collegiettes. Let’s make this year a good one!