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What I Knew Before I Was a Senior in College

In a matter of 10 days, I will officially be a senior in college. Yes, you read that right. A college SENIOR. 

Wrapping my head around that fact is nearly impossible as senior year in high school felt like yesterday. But before those 10 days come to a close, there are a few things I need to get off my chest. 

These last 3 years have been a whirlwind. From moving into my freshman dorm, to meeting my first friends at college, joining clubs, getting kicked off campus because of COVID-19, to moving into my first apartment – I’ve learned a lot. And not even in the sense of my classes, real “adult” life lessons. 

Before coming to college, I was dating my high school boyfriend ready to start the college relationship – where freedom from parents was at our fingertips. For a year and a half, I put everything possible into my relationship and school, forgetting that college was a time to learn more about myself. After months of struggling to make a relationship work while meeting new friends, I eventually learned to not spread myself too thin. Freshman year taught me to put myself first – regardless of what that means. I learned to pursue friendships who pursued me back, and take advantage of an opportunity to meet new people.

I learned to dive into my classes and study what I was passionate about. I learned that I only want to pursue a career that I love regardless of how lucrative it may be. 

Sophomore year taught me to take advantage of the moments, memories, and time because the world and our circumstances can change at the drop of a dime. I learned to throw myself into new experiences and see if I could swim. I learned I enjoyed writing for the school newspaper, regardless of how “weird” I once thought it was. 

After COVID-19 forced me back into my childhood bedroom, I learned that friends will reach out if they want to, and if they don’t, they aren’t truly friends. I learned how to connect with people amidst complete oscillation, even growing closer with some of my friends. I learned to be grateful for the in person gatherings and time to be spent together. 

That year taught me not to get my hopes up. It taught me to be rational and have excitement for the future, but not to base my happiness on a distant future plan. It taught me to be flexible, adaptable, and how to mourn over important things in my life. 

Junior year was one for the books. It was one where I felt at my most alone, even surrounded and living with five other people. I learned that being alone, something I once wanted, was not what I expected. In moments in my room drowning in the music, I learned that if they cared, they would check up on you.

I learned that friendships have to be a two-way street. I learned how to let go of friendships I once thought were lifelong. I learned to accept that sometimes answers will go unknown. But I also learned that when a friendship is good, to never let it go. I learned to keep the people in my life who wanted me in theirs. Junior year taught me how to be a better friend.

With senior year around the corner, I would’ve once said that I haven’t learned anything. But I know that is not true. I’ve learned a lot, and although I could’ve avoided most of my troubles if I knew these things, I’m glad that I didn’t. 

But there is one exception. I wish I knew to put myself first. I wish I knew there’s nothing wrong with caring too much. I wish I knew that I could choose my own fate, and if that meant giving up broken friendships, and spending half of my senior year abroad, that it was okay. Because if there was one thing that mattered most, it’s me. 

Tori McArthur is a Journalism and Sociology major at Seattle Pacific University. She loves to travel and lives by Indy Blue's mantra of "creating the life you want." You can probably find her at a thrift store in Seattle with a coffee in hand.
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