The Four Phases (And Years) Of College

I have officially finished my junior year of college and am now officially a senior. I’m already trying to decide how to design my cap for graduation…. But what I’m really wondering is how I got here so fast. It feels like I graduated from senior year of high school a couple days ago. Since finals are finally over, I’ve been reminiscing on these past three years and wondering what senior year really has in store for me.

Here’s what I would’ve told myself before college if I could’ve:

1.    Freshman Year –

It’s gonna be weird. Your high school best friends are going to be miles away from you living their lives at their own colleges, while your building your new life at your college. The first couple of weeks you’ll spend Facetiming your old buddies and filling them in on the cute boy you sit next to in psychology class and giving them virtual tours of your newly decorated dorm room. But once the missing home phase is over, you’ll find your best friends at school. Whether that be your roommates (which it was in my case), the other students on your floor (which it also was in my case), or people from class… you will find your people. And if you’re lucky, they’ll follow you throughout the rest of your time at school.

You might get sick from time to time (in my case, I had mono), but hopefully this won’t be the reason why your grades slip. In my experience, I had super easy classes my freshman year, so worrying about grades wasn’t too big of an issue for me, but man, classes are different. You’ll be 1 of 200+ students in a giant lecture hall and won’t know where to sit. But, hopefully, you’ll find at least one person to talk to in each class and maybe even get a best friend out of it. I know I did.

You may think that partying is the only thing there is to do at your school, but that’s where your wrong. Nights in at the dorm are always enjoyable, whether that be watching Netflix with your roommates or getting to know other people in your dorm hall, you will not be bored your first year and that’s for sure.  The dining halls will get annoying from time to time, but you’ll be snacking on too much junk food your first year to help get you through the harder times. And while you party, and yes you will party, you’ll come across what college life is really like. And that’s when it sets in: you’re officially a college student. When freshman year ends, you won’t know where the time went and coming home will feel completely different than it ever has before. But you’re happy because you have so many amazing memories (and Snapchat stories) to look back on and look forward to more!

2.    Sophomore Year –    

You’re back! And you’re ready. Time to meet up with all the great friends you met last year and have a blast. Maybe you’re living with the same roommates this year (like I did), or maybe your living with completely new girls. Whatever the case, make the most of it! This is your last year in the dorms, so live it up. No more dining halls meals after this year, which I’m sure your happy about now, but you won’t be once they’re gone, trust me. So don’t take this for granted! Not having to buy groceries and make your own meals really is a blessing.

At this point, you’ve probably joined a few organizations or are looking into joining something new. Do it. Joining an organization you are passionate about is something that really makes your college feel like home. Maybe you still haven’t picked your major yet, that’s okay! Meeting up with advisers and professors to discuss this will help. Apply to that major you so desperately want, and go for it. Don’t stop believing in yourself because sophomore year is when it all hits you. You are growing up!

The party scene will get bigger, and yes, it will get better. You will finally decide what your go to party scene is, and you will have the time of your life! You’re an upperclassman now, you know what’s up. Make sure you keep in touch with your friends you made the first year. Those are some of the people who helped you grow into who you are now. But don’t forget to make new friends, as well! They say you meet your husband in college, but in reality, you truly do find your bridesmaids.

3.    Junior Year –

It’s your first year in your house! And if you’re anything like me, you’ll be living with the same roommates you lived with the past two years. Living in a house will make the year a bit different… having to grocery shop, move in all of your furniture, decorate accordingly and staying clean is a big deal. Whatever you do, though, enjoy it!

You’ll also most likely be turning 21 this year. Now THIS is something to look forward to. Have a big birthday bash with all of your best friends and celebrate well! Turning 21 is a big milestone in a college student’s life. You may decide that partying isn’t all that it’s talked up to be, or you may still want to go out every single night. Whatever the case, do it! You’re a junior and your time may not seem like it’s almost up, but it is. You have no idea how fast this year will fly by.

It’s also time to start looking for that dream internship. Apply everywhere! When you get that phone call or email back asking for an interview, prepare accordingly. Ask your friends or anybody else for help! This is important. Although junior year should be fun, you should also be continuing to grow both personally and professionally, and what better way than with an internship! Add something to that resume! Time’s almost up!

Once junior year is over, you truly will have no idea where the time went. You’re watching some of your closest senior friends graduate and you’re wondering how they’re doing it. But, that’s going to be you in just a year, so do NOT waste one moment you have during your junior year.

4.    Senior Year –

Alright, I’m not there yet. But, I do know one thing: CHERISH IT. Every senior I know is so sad to watch their college years come to an end. Sure, they’re excited to get on out in the real word and be a REAL adult, but the memories they made in their college town will never be forgotten. I know to have the best time of my life senior year, and that I will do.

College is truly an experience you will never have again, and an experience that you are so lucky to have. Don't take it for granted, but also, don't forget to have fun!