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Looking back on my freshman year of college in the fall of 2018, sitting in my first lecture hall, I wish I understood the significance of when my first professor told my class to slow down and enjoy college as much as we can because it goes by incredibly fast. Some moments felt as if they lasted longer than they should have, like my first semester of freshman year, when I had absolutely no idea who my friends would be, what school would be like, or what the next four years would hold. Or my sophomore year, when I watched the whole world shut down and forever change while just trying to get through biology class. 

While a “normal” college experience was not what the world had planned for me, I was still fortunate enough to make lifelong friendships, have great opportunities, and create memorable experiences. Now, being in my very last semester of college, I have an overwhelming amount of emotions as a very big, impactful chapter of my life dwindles to fewer and fewer pages. The “senioritis” has kicked in, and I, along with many others are at a stage in life where we are more than ready to see what’s next but simultaneously terrified to let go. Here are some things I have learned while navigating my second semester as a senior in college and what I have been working on to prepare myself for what is to come. 

  1. Accept Change 

The biggest thing I wish I knew before going into my second semester of senior year is that change is going to start happening before you even graduate. As everyone enters the home stretch, priorities change as some people have full-time internships, jobs, off-campus studies, and capstone classes. At the same time, this is when students start to get serious about finding post-graduation jobs, saving money, preparing to move back home or out of state, and all the dreaded “adulting” things become very real, very fast. This can create a ball of stress for anyone who is apprehensive to change. What has helped the most is remembering that you’re not alone in feeling like you have a lot to figure out at once, no one is 100% certain about their future. While change can be stressful or even scary, it does not mean it’s a bad thing. Change is a sign of growth and that you’re on the path towards new and exciting adventures! 

  1. Create A Routine 

By the second semester of senior year, the majority of students are burnt out. Homework starts to feel like unnecessary busywork, classes seem repetitive, and trying to balance school while also figuring out what to do with your life is not the easiest. Creating a routine that allows you to manage school, work towards your future, and focus on your own mental and physical health while still carving out time to enjoy what time you have left is very important! This is the last chance you will have for college experiences, so talk to people in your classes, go to sporting events, get late-night drinks with friends, and make the most of your last semester, because you have the rest of your life to focus on work.

  1. Be Excited For The Future 

If there is one thing I could go back and tell my freshman self who was terrified of not knowing what the next four years would hold, I would tell her to chill out! At some point, every person will begin a new chapter of their life, whether it’s graduating college, moving, or starting a new job or relationship. Feeling uncertain or anxious for the unknown is a shared feeling amongst most humans. The unknown is scary, but life has a way of figuring itself out. With each day, you will start to become more certain of what is happening around you, and pretty soon. Without even knowing it, you will meet people and create experiences that let you know you’re exactly where you’re meant to be.

Allie Nowak

Illinois State '22

Editor-in-chief for Her Campus at Illinois State University.
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