Senior Year Reflections

As the days inch closer to graduation, I’ve slowly realized how truly important it is to take advantage of your time. This isn’t to say your years before senior year aren’t important, but there’s something so promising, so special about a final year. It’s a chance of starting all over while being able to close a final chapter. It’s a chance to right the wrongs from the last couple years, to get experience and take advantage of what you weren’t able to before.

 

Freshman year, I didn’t think far ahead to senior year. In fact, I was barely thinking ahead for the week. I’m grateful I gave myself the freedom to fool around, to have fun and to open myself to a new city, a new group of people. I gave myself the chance to grow up away from everything I was already comfortable with.

 

From there on, I made mistake after mistake. But that’s the joy in life; I don’t have to be perfect. My bad days can lead to great days, and one door getting completely shut in my face just means no for now, not forever.

 

There’s some universal truths to the journey we call college life. Some things are just common sense: if he only messages you through Snapchat, abort mission. If you get a syllabus, keep track of it. Submit your FAFSA on time. Please.

 

But there are some things we don’t hear enough. So, from one senior to the next class, I’m ready to tell you that it’s as awful as it seems.

 

You will miss out on so much sleep. Your schedule is going to get so messed up from cramming internships, jobs, classes and any other clubs or sports you got going on. You’re going to want to be able to commit to everything you can- and it’s just not doable.

 

Learn to say no. To others, but most importantly, to yourself. You’re no good to anyone, especially yourself if you burn out.

 

You will realize some friends are not worth the drama. You grow up, and sometimes that means leaving behind the girl you met at the bathroom at The Station (RIP) who you thought was your drunk soulmate. You will also realize that ending friendships does not always have to be dramatic. It doesn’t have to be one huge fight dragged out through a whole semester. Sometimes it is as simple as letting it go and charging it to the game. It’s important to know that you can love someone and respect them without having to keep them in your life.

 

You will realize grades actually don’t mean that much- but you should still go to class because there’s no reason you should be paying tuition if all you do is go to the damn pool. Are you majoring in being a lifeguard? Yeah, didn’t think so. Again, grow up, take advantage of your classes, your professors, your classmates- you don’t know what’s waiting for you. One class could give you the idea that can change your life. Or at least save you from failing that next test.

 

Guys will still be trash. But that’s only a given if you are looking for something good in somebody that isn’t worth it.

 

You will always be scared about the future. Anxiety gets worse, and feelings of worthlessness and little to no motivation will creep up. But you will also realize that you get what you make out of your experience. And that if you ride it out, you end up getting a lot more than just a degree.

 

So, senior year really sucks. Get ready for all the mental breakdowns, sleepless nights, realizing you missed Blackboard deadlines at the club and being broke by Sunday when you get paid on Friday.

 

You’ll also have a whole year to realize what you are passionate about. A whole year to do the hard work that will prepare you for whatever it is you want to do with your new freedom. It’s a chance to look back at what you’ve done and gear up for what your next fresh start will be like. It’s a chance to clean house- for your mind, for your soul.

 

In my senior year alone, I traveled to a side of the world I’ve never been to, to film an actual documentary. I interned for a congresswoman. I started a personal project that I absolutely love- I’ve found (almost) all my passions, and I feel like I’m one step closer to getting to where my ideal self is. I challenged myself every chance I got to, and here I am, ready to walk across that stage to the next chapter of my life.

 

When I look back, I won’t be ashamed and I won’t beat myself up. I’m proud of what it took to get me here.

 

What will you feel when you look back?