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Ah yes, spring semester of senior year, what a time to be alive. Oddly enough, most seniors feel like we’re dying in some way, shape, or form; whether it’s the physical exhaustion of doing experiments or filming, the mental fatigue of endless Zoom meetings and email threads, or a combination of both, the feeling of drowning is very real. My spring semester is consisting of all of that, plus celebrating the month of Ramadan with my fellow Muslims around the world, as well as preparing for the final papers and projects that professors decide to assign without remorse.  

Let’s be honest for a moment: finals season isn’t easy for ANYONE, it doesn’t matter if you’re a freshman or a senior, we all struggle during the end of the semesters as the work piles up and coffee machines buzz into the late night. The procrastination snacking from DX or CookOut, random chats with roommates in common spaces, or your partners/groups for assignments getting off-topic and onto a long tangent, finals can bring out the best and worst in people, but often make for some very entertaining memories to look back on.

Now I have been thinking about this for quite some time, as I knew I would be fasting while finishing said finals, knowing that there wasn’t much my professors could do for me in terms of flexibility of times. While Ramadan brings me intense joy and reminds me to be both humble and grateful, the stress of finals doesn’t get any easier. Celebrating the month without my family will be a first for me, but my friends and roommates have made it clear that they are ready to enjoy the 30-days with me, and are intrigued about what they can learn as they watch me go through the actions.  

Graduation is a little over a month away, AND is now in-person? If any of you are like me, this definitely came as a shock, especially after the university declared that commencement would be held online to comply with Covid safety regulations. With graduation now being held here in Blacksburg, personally speaking, I am now running around trying to rally tickets, a cap and gown, and a photographer to take my senior portraits. While this is both a rush and incredibly stressful, I know it’s a momentous occasion, and am hopeful that it gets to be enjoyed by my fellow seniors as much as possible. 

With the finish line in sight and the flowers in bloom, the overall mood across campus seems brighter and happier than the cold winter months (and whatever that random cold spell was). To my senior and final graduate Hokies: we’re almost done, this is the final sprint, and soon we will be moving our tassels and throwing caps into the air (and dodging them as they fall), but it’s incredibly important to remember that you need to take care of yourselves during this time as well. Eat your meals, snack during studying, find a good playlist, and get plenty of sleep, don’t jeopardize your health. For my Muslims, this is going to be a little difficult for us, but remember, the community supports one another, and now is the time to prioritize what is important to you. Ramadan is what YOU make of it, and if you need to skip a day, you’ll find another day to make it up; make sure your suhoor and iftar are nutritious and able to fill you up and to be kind to yourself as you are to others. 

Happy trails Hokies, see you at graduation.

Shanzeh is a senior at Virginia Tech and is originally from Northern Virginia. She's studying multimedia journalism and minoring in international studies; you can usually find her in a cozy corner with a cup of coffee most likely listening to a podcast or watching a news relay. Shanzeh hopes to become an international correspondent and has aspirations to be writing, reporting, and photographing for a news outlet in the future.
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