5 Collegiettes Get Real About Senior Year

We sat down with 5 Collegiettes who are rapidly approaching the end of their senior year. Instead of simply repeating all the cliches we always hear about this time in our lives, they got candid about what it really means to be a second-semester senior.

What is the biggest myth about senior year?

Jill: It’s one giant party? I don’t know! Senior year is nothing like I expected it to be, but that may in part be due to the fact that it’s gone by in such a blur. I think people assume that if you’re able to take fewer classes your senior year that you can just party all the time, but I’m busier this year than I ever was at any other point in my college career. Between classes, extracurriculars, internships, and the job hunt, you have little to no free time.

Lexi: That it’s going to be easy. I was under the impression that senior year was going to be a breeze, but second semester has been my most challenging, stressful semester yet.

Allie: It’ll be super easy/super hard. Maybe it’s just my experience, but (especially academically) I haven’t found it to be much different from years past!

Emma: That it is a 24/7 party. You are going to be SO busy with senior classes, clubs (since seniors are often in leadership positions), a thesis, a job and applying for real world jobs. Just the thought of writing another cover letter is making me sick.

Ellanje: I was under the impression that senior year would smooth-sailing – maybe about three or four classes on my schedule...NOT. I’m overloading in credits like a nerd.

What's one thing you wish you had known earlier in your college career?

Jill: How fast it was going to fly by! It doesn’t seem possible that we only have a month or so left, I feel like the year just started a few weeks ago. Sometimes you need to just step back and take a second to really enjoy it and appreciate how far you’ve come.

Lexi: I wish I had gone to see an advisor sooner. I came in undeclared and I didn’t even know I had an advisor until my sophomore year! I probably could have avoided having such a stressful final semester if I had figured that out. Now I go and talk to my advisor at least twice a semester. I don’t know what I would do without her!

Allie: It literally flies by.  I’ve been far too lackadaisical and am now in my last month trying to cram in all the things that are on my UMass/Amherst bucket list and trying to take advantage of every opportunity while I still can.

Emma: Take other people’s advice with a grain of salt. College is a huge change and it is up to you to figure out your way--advice is helpful but it can only go so far. Also don’t skip class! It will always hurt you in the end.

Ellanje: I wish I had known that this year would be very emotionally challenging for me. I didn’t expect to be this emotionally drained or exhausted.

 

If you had to create a word to sum up how you're feeling, what would it be and how would you define it?

Jill: "Anxtalgment..." Anxious, nostalgic, and excited. I’m anxious because I’m starting a whole new chapter in my life, excited because I’m so ready to start it, and nostalgic because I can’t believe the college chapter is already coming to a close.

Lexi: I don't even know, so I'm just going to stick with "uncertain." It feels like every decision I make at this point is pivotal. People tell me all the time that I’m young and I have so much time to figure things out, but I still feel like whatever I decide to do next is going to define my entire future and I never know if I’m making the right decisions.

Allie: "SPLAAARGH!!!!!!" That’s just me screaming, honestly. I don’t know how to feel but it’s probably a combination of stress, uncertainty, sadness, nostalgia, excitement, and hope. So for now I’ll just scream.

Emma: Some combination of already feeling nostalgic, excitement about my future, and nervousness about being in the real world. "Nervexalgic?" It’s a word now.

Ellanje: "Stress-citement." I’m extremely stressed out and overwhelmed, but so excited to finally be done and start a new chapter in my life.

Was there one particular moment when you thought, "Oh shit, I'm almost done?"

Jill: Pretty much a daily occurrence…looking at my planner and everything I have going on over the next few weeks is pretty daunting, especially knowing it’ll all be over before I know it. I think my first “oh shit” moment was when I installed a countdown app on my phone; it didn’t seem possible that there were so few days left before graduation. Second place would probably be my professor saying that we only have 6 classes with her left (it’s actually 7, but still).

Lexi: This week when I realized that I basically only have four weeks left of school…

Allie: Probably when I started getting e-mails about commencement and things I had to do before graduation. It doesn’t feel real until someone pushes a date in your face, and you’re like 'hey stop, go away please.'

Emma: I've had two very real, “Oh my gosh I’m almost done,” moments. One was back in the fall semester when it was around Thanksgiving. All of my friends were having a “Friendsgiving” before everyone went home for the long weekend. I, of course, had to work and I thought to myself that for next year I have to be sure to take the day off ahead of time, but them I remembered there would be no next year.

I also had a moment very recently when I was driving back to school from being home for Easter weekend. I realized it was the LAST time I would be driving back to school EVER. I got so emotional. I took my favorite route even though there was a lot of traffic and it was in the dark.

Ellanje: Yes. After Winter break, I realized that there wasn’t any guarantee that I would have four weeks off to eat, on the couch, in my onesie anymore.

If you could start your undergraduate career over, would you?

Jill: I definitely wouldn’t start my undergraduate career over, even though there are things I think I would like to change. I’m a big believer in “everything happens for a reason,” so even though I would do things differently now, I wouldn’t want to go back and change how they’ve already been. Also, I’m definitely ready for a new adventure. The past four years have been an incredible experience, but it’s time for something new. As scary as the real world seems, I like to think that I’m ready for it!

Lexi: I think I’m ready for something new. I know in a few years I’ll be cursing myself for saying it and I’ll want to go back, but right now I’m really excited to figure out what’s next for me.

Allie: Hmmm...no, probably not. Maybe I’d like to re-live/re-see moments (a la Scrooge in A Christmas Carol….but good memories not ones of sad and lonely Christmases), but I wouldn’t want to do them again necessarily. The years were what they were and, of course, there are things I might have done differently, but the things I did and the choices I made brought me to where I am today and I am grateful for that. Definitely sad to go, there’s no denying that (bringing 3-ply Kleenex to graduation), but ready to see what life has in store for me next!

Emma: I think I’m ready for a new adventure. I’ve become very comfortable at UMass, but that's when you know when you're ready for a new challenge. Yes, there are some things that I wish I could have done differently, but I wouldn’t change the experience I’ve had. I’m going to miss it though, 100%.

Ellanje: I’m definitely ready for a new adventure. I’ve been in school for 16 years straight, I think it’s time to do something new!

What's honestly the scariest part of senior year?

Jill: I think there are lots of intimidating elements, knowing that you’re pretty much on a ticking clock, the job hunt process (mainly interviews!), everyone asking about your post-grad life plans… it can be a lot, especially when you’re dealing with it all at once! There have been many times where I’ve wanted to go hide under my covers because I haven’t felt like I’m ready to be a big girl in the real world, which is probably the scariest part for me: the unknown and the worry that I won’t be successful or make people proud. Thankfully, I have the most amazing support team who constantly remind me that they’ll be proud of me no matter what (but wouldn’t you be more proud if I graduated with a real job, Mom?!).

Lexi: I feel like people say this all the time, but up until this point my life has been so linear and planned out, so I never had to question myself and wonder if I was doing the right thing. Now that path is kind of just ending so it can be frightening at times.

Allie: The uncertainty of the future. I know that’s cliche but it’s the TRUTH. Uncertainty of what I want to do, where I’ll end up. I just wanna be happy, ya feel?

Emma: Realizing that you will be entering the real world very shortly. Also everything is kind of in place. Since you've been at school for three years there's really no going back. It's too late to change your major and it can be too late to start certain clubs or programs. College is a place of endless opportunities, but senior year you can feel a little stuck.

Ellanje: The scariest part of senior year was when my senioritis kicked in. I had never been so careless in my life – that was scary for me to realize that being so ready to be done started to affect my personality and behavior.

 

If senior year were a movie, what would it be?

Jill: 13 Going on 30. All of my life, I’ve been so excited to grow up and be in the real world, and now that it’s almost here, it’s absolutely terrifying. Part of me wishes I could go back to the simpler days of middle school (and tell myself to quit it with the low ponytail parted down the middle), but I know that this is going to be a fun, new adventure. Even with senior year, part of me is still just ready for it to be over, but like you learn in 13 Going on 30, you shouldn’t wish the time away!

Lexi: St. Elmo’s Fire

Allie: Hannah Montana: The Movie because everyone got to see THE REAL ME. Hear me out. I feel like in high school and in college (no matter how much I/we deny it) we are often trying to be a different version of ourselves in order to attract friends and be well-liked. We have alter-egos kinda. But at this point in my school and personal life, I know more about who I am and who I want to surround myself with, so I am not afraid to just be that person.

Emma: I think you stumped me on this. Maybe Alice in Wonderland? I feel like I am going to wake up and college is going to feel like some weird, strange dream.

Ellanje: Superbad or 21 Jump Street

If you had to rank your college years from favorite to least favorite, how would you do it?

Jill: 100% hands down, college has gotten better every single year. I had an awful freshman year, to the point that I considered transferring, but I’m so happy I stuck it out. Sophomore year, I met some of my best friends and really started to fall in love with UMass. It’s only gotten stronger since then--I’ll be sad to leave.

Lexi: Oh gosh, how do I choose!? I think I would rank my years in descending order, so senior, junior, sophomore, freshman.

Allie: Probably reverse chronological order (Senior = best, freshman = worst). Every year was memorable and unique in its own way, but they also got better as they progressed. I met more people, strengthened my friendships, got more involved, took more interesting classes, etc., as the years went on.

Emma: Freshman – everything was new, fresh, and exciting; every day felt like an adventure. Junior – I moved off campus for the first time and had real independence. I also went abroad to London for spring semester, so not much can top that. Senior --  I’m trying to cross everything off my bucket list, but its hard when you have deadlines, job applications, and other important commitments! Sophomore – What even was sophomore year? I had a sophomore slump for sure. It just felt like a continuation of freshman year except I already felt at home at UMass.

Ellanje: Junior year (R.I.P. abroad life), sophomore year, senior year, freshman year

So there you have it, Collegiettes: while everyone shares certain feelings--nostalgic, excited, nervous--senior year is truly a different experience for everyone. Now go forth and use this information to have the best senior year you possibly can (when your time comes, anyway).

Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9