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8 Tips From A Graduating Senior

Maybe an account of tips from a jaded and crotchety senior is not what you want to hear, but I promise you these are the same things you’ll want to shout to those younger than you when you are a jaded and crotchety senior like me. I’m not going to tell you to find all your favorite study spots or that you should be thankful for dining hall food while it lasts (although these things are certainly important), but rather the basis is to be smart and have fun while you’re here. You don’t want to leave with any regrets.

1. Research and try as many things as you might be interested in as soon as possible or when you feel like you’ve got a good bearing.

So your advisor might be hammering this on you, but it’s true that you should really get your toes wet in anything you think you might be interested in. Otherwise, you might get to the end and wished you’d done more (ya gurl, here). Not only are college activities great for résumés, you can meet all kinds of new people and find things you didn’t even know you would like.

2. Time with friends > time spent studying

You will never regret going on spontaneous hikes on Sunday mornings or margarita runs on Thursday nights. The things you’ll remember will be fun plans with your people, not of nights holed up studying.

3. …but studying is still important.

Even though relationships are so important to maintaining a healthy mental state and creating great mems, there will be sacrifices you have to make. College, when it comes down to it, is really about your education. Spontaneous plans are great every once in a while, but you also have to be critical about determining when it’s acceptable to do so. You have to set boundaries, so you can still be successful in school.

4. Take some time to celebrate being young.

I never really drank until this year, when I turned 21. Honestly, it is so much more fun to drink when you’re legal because you never have the fear of being caught. Take a tequila shot. Dance like no one is watching. Sing at the top of your lungs. Real adults were probably already expecting you to go wild; just do your thang.

5. Try not to care what anybody thinks.

It took me until my final semester of college to be truly fearless. There are still things I fear, of course (like leaving college), but at this stage I genuinely don’t care what people think of me. I tripped up the stairs and saw I guy I went on a (first and last) date with (from giving him my number on a whim!) about two minutes later. And you know what? I went on with my day. Be you (even if embarrassingly), with no apologies.

6. Don’t let the persistent questions of what you’re doing after college pressure you or distract you from the now.

This is a question people start asking even earlier on than senior year and for reasons I will never understand. I get people are curious, but that by no means you have to have it all figured out. As far as I’m concerned, I have a lot of time after college to figure out the rest of my life. Besides, I could go down any one of seventeen paths I envision, who’s to say which one I’ll take when? Everyone has their own timeline, and you shouldn’t feel ashamed for not having everything planned out.

7. Please, Dear God, enjoy it while you can.

Start enjoying your time as soon as you can when you get to college by finding your niche and doing all the things you want to do so you don’t end up with any regrets. Allow yourself to feel homesick and take your time adjusting, but diving right in to all college has to offer will make it all the better, especially when you are nearing the end and it feels like it all went by in the blink of an eye.

8. …but don’t think it’s the end of your life when you leave.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that high school was supposed to be the best four years of my life. And then the same thing was said about college. I will not deny that I had so much fun in both of these seasons of my life, but the next four years are the best to come. And the next four years after that. Each new stage of life is filled with different and thrilling things, and I cannot wait to see how it all plays out. The future is scary but filled with so many good days, new friends and pizza places to try, ja feel? Adventure is out there.

Paige Netzel is a senior at the University of Iowa, studying English and Creative Writing with a Cinema minor. Coffee, creating playlists, and gratitude are essential to keeping her going. Check her out on Twitter for some hecka funny tweets or on Spotify for those dope playlists.
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