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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois State chapter.

It seems like yesterday when I started college at Illinois State University in the fall of 2018. I was an hour and a half away from home, alone, yet excited for this new adventure. When I look back on my freshman year self, I smile, because college is not easy, but she did it.

As the years pass, you watch some of your friends graduate and leave. Just like high school, you think, “I still have time.” Until you are in my shoes. A senior, one month shy of graduation and moving back to your hometown. Man did these years fly by. I guess it didn’t help that two of my college years were spent virtually, which made the days blend together.

In college, we are all legally adults, but I have never met the most childish, carefree, crazy group of people—in a good way. We are adults, but we are young and stupid. That is my favorite part about college.

The scariest part about graduation is the fact that I will be a full-time teacher come this fall, where I have to be a “grown-up” Monday through Friday. I feel the weight of maturing creeping up on me. In reality, I am only 22. I am not mature. I am still young and stupid. College is just full of young adults not knowing what they are doing or where they are going, we are just living and having fun.

Were the courseload and stress overwhelming? Absolutely, but I would trade those dreaded 8 a.m. classes over having to graduate in a month. Realistically, I am not ready. I am educated enough to leave, but mentally, I am not ready. I have met some of the best of friends while in college, and the thought of not being a 5-minute walk away scares me. I am excited to be a teacher and make an impact on young children, but the stereotypes of teachers having to be “perfect” are scary. Again, I am only 22. I am still growing.

My advice to ’23, ’24, and ’25 graduates:

Stop wishing for the weekend. These years go by quicker than high school. Hang out with your friends because you will all be scattered across the state after graduation. Be spontaneous. Soon you will be working a full-time possibly 9-to-5 job where you will want to go home and just sleep. Cherish being on campus and the beautiful sun hitting the quad. Go to that basketball game even though it is late on a school night. Have those late-night conversations with your roommates at 1 a.m. because soon, you will be moving out. Overall, have fun. These are some of the most confusing, crazy and fulfilling years in your young adult life.

Always remember, we are still young. We are just living.

Lots of Love,

Jess <3

Jessica Hogeboom

Illinois State '22

ISU 2022 | Elementary Education Follow me on Instagram : @jesshogeboom