How College Life is Different Once You’re an Upperclassman

With the start of the first week of my junior year at the University of Florida, I am officially irrelevant - or so the rumor goes. In high school, being an upperclassman is something everyone looks forward to. You’re no longer a freshman that gets made fun of simply because you’re a freshman. Instead, you get respect from your inferiors, endless privileges and a mindset that you run the whole school.

In college, on the other hand, upperclassmen are looked at with pity. College life changes in the blink of an eye. One minute, you’re going out on Tuesday nights and having the time of your life. The next minute you’re spending your weekends in the library, desperately trying to build your resume, and questioning what the hell you’re going to do after graduation.

It is true that being an upperclassman is much more stressful and comes with many more responsibilities, but it doesn’t have to mean that I am old, depressed and irrelevant. It’s different than the glory days of freshman and sophomore year, but in many ways, it’s much better.

You finally know your place and feel like you belong.

Starting college as a freshman is scary and overwhelming, especially at a school the size of UF. It takes time to find your real friends and your niche. Chances are that you initially latched on to the first person you met in your dorm hall your freshman year. You do everything together for your first semester… only to realize you don’t even like this person that much.

Being an upperclassman means that you’ve found your real friends. You’ve joined organizations that you actually care about and developed a sense of purpose at your school. Not to mention you are guaranteed to see friendly faces when walking on campus. As a junior, I’m not just another number at my huge school.

No more living in a shoebox.

You don’t realize how much you appreciate having your own space until you have it. Living in a dorm my freshman year and my sorority house my sophomore year didn’t seem the worst at the time, but living in an apartment is one thousand times better.

No more communal bathrooms, no more utter lack of privacy and no more living in a literal shoebox.

Actual learning can actually be fun.

There comes a time – though you never thought it’d come – that going out five nights a week, sleeping in until noon and skipping all of your classes starts to become old. Sure, you likely still passed your first few easy classes with this lifestyle, but I promise that you won’t be able to keep it up forever. I, too, thought I was invincible.

Although going to class (and actually participating), completing assignments, studying and working an internship takes much more brain power than the latter, it’s rewarding. There’s something very satisfying about receiving good grades and praise from your professors. It makes all of your hard work worth it. Additionally, upperclassmen get to take classes that are more closely related to their major, which makes the classes usually pretty interesting.

Oh, and of course you start to remember why you came to college in the first place – to learn.

You become a complete #boss

Remember when there was a junior or senior that you looked up to? You would think, “Wow, she really has her life together. I wonder how she does it?”

Surprise! You’re now that role model. Maybe you don’t believe me, but it’s true. While I feel like I’m barely skating by in life, others have told me that I’m doing amazing. Mind = blown. Slowly but surely you become who you are, find ways to do things you are passionate about and become a boss. And no amount of freshman “relevance” can top that feeling.

So yeah, upperclassman life has its perks too, and don't forget 'em! Enjoy the last half of the college ride while you can and stay growing as you go along.