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

How is it April? How do I only have a month and a half of schooling left? How am I expected to seamlessly give up the life I’ve created for myself in a new city over the last four years and start fresh again? And most importantly– what do I do next?

My brain runs in circles everyday trying to figure out the answers to these questions.

To my despair however, I come to the same conclusion each time. There is no concrete answer. It’s just life, the ever-changing, always moving, inescapable train we start riding at birth and never really get off. We may pause at a new station here and there, but we are always the passenger; glued to our seat, watching out the windows as the scenery outside blurrily passes us by.

That sounds incredibly dramatic. But this phase of my life also feels incredibly dramatic! No one really knows what’s going on, we’re just trying our best to stay afloat in this home stretch of the semester.

When I think back to my senior year of high school, or even eighth grade graduation season, I think back to times filled with celebration. There were nonstop class events, pre-planned trips, feeling like you ruled the school, bawling your eyes out to American coming-of-age movies on a random Wednesday night– but most notably, the notion that a new, exciting phase of life is just around the corner.

Senior year of college feels a bit different for me.

It’s all purchasing caps and gowns, and Loyola’s signature countdown-till-graduation-parties that just make me sad, and checking LinkedIn instead of Instagram first thing in the morning. It’s trying to find the time to attend every campus event possible and still get my homework done. It’s balancing seeing friends and making memories while also prioritizing self-care. It’s constantly wishing that time either stopped, or you just had a little bit more of it. My metaphorical seesaw is delicately balancing and I’m hoping that with each decision I make it doesn’t topple too far over to one side.

I’m already an overly nostalgic person, and that trait has all but doubled since my senior year was my only full, normal year of college. It feels like I missed out on so much, and I’m trying to make up as much time as I can this year. I wrote an article in the fall about how I’m saying yes to everything this year. That’s still true, and I’m still grateful I chose to move through this year in that way. It helped me realize why leaving feels so difficult. I wish I had the opportunity to go through every year like that; saying yes to everything. But sadly for a couple years there was not a whole lot to say yes to. So much time was lost through the pandemic, and I feel like I’m trying to cram everything in now at the very end.

Every day is not always heavy though, I’ve found ways to help cope with the senior year blues.

Before the year began, I purchased a customized journal specifically to document my senior year. It contains the full contents of my brain from September to the present. It’s not only been a very entertaining way to look back on everything that’s happened over the past eight months, but it’s also been a helpful tool in understanding some of my emotions. I’m grateful I’m going to have those messy, pink-pen-bleeding, handwritten pages to look back on forever. I highly recommend doing the same for anyone approaching this phase of your life.

I have also documented everything. Yes I’m a journalism major, so documenting memories and stories is engrained in me, but this year I have been especially diligent about capturing every moment. This goes for major events like chorus concerts or birthdays, but also smaller, silly moments at the grocery store or in my apartment kitchen. Living without a screen in the moment works wonderfully for some, but I adore having photos or videos to look back on down the line.

Senior year is scary. It’s a time of transformation and growth. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions. But with all of that said, I wouldn’t do any part of it differently. Everything I have felt and done and every new person I’ve met or lost has changed me in some way.

To me, college is not just about academics. It’s about looking deep inside yourself and digging in to figure out who you are and what kind of space you’re going to take up in the world. It’s going through things that will help shape the person you’ve been growing into over the last four years.

Senior year is here to make sure I don’t grow complacent in my final Loyola moments, and I continue growing and changing for the better so I leave here the best version of myself to give to the world outside of 4500 N. Charles Street.

Maria D'Agostino is a graduate of Loyola University Maryland with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and a double specialization in Journalism and Digital Media. She served as the Editor in Chief of Loyola's Chapter in 2023.