What You Need to Know Before Your Senior Year

Dear juniors,

As all of your senior friends trickle into "the real world," you're probably coming to the realization that the baton has been handed over — you're a senior now.

At some point in your college career, you have probably been so stressed out and fed up with assignments that you wished you were done already. I remember at the hardest point in my junior year, a senior said that she wished she could do four more years here, and I just couldn't fathom why she would want that. She was crazy, right? Who could want to put themselves through four more years of barely sleeping and living at the library? Now, I know exactly what she was talking about. Maybe I don't want four more years of paying for books that I'll barely read or taking some of those required courses that will in no way ever help me in the future. But I would give away my last dollar if I could have four more years of singing "Sweet Caroline" on game-days and living with my best friends.

So, future-seniors, here are my tips to help you truly take advantage of every one of the "lasts" you will have next year.


Do you ever say you're "interested" in something on Facebook and then never actually go? Stop doing that. It may be your last opportunity to go to that wine-tasting or Tuesday taco night you always wanted to try.

2. Be a Yes-man/woman.This goes along with number 1. We all have days when our friends are begging us to do something when all we want to do is curl up with our favorite Netflix series. BUT, this is your senior year. You can stay in on a Friday night with your TV when you've graduated, but you won't be able to go to your favorite dive bar with your best college friends.

3. Prepare for people to constantly pester you about your future.What are you doing after college? Do you have a job lined up? Are you going to grad school? Are you going to stay in Madison? Are you moving back home? Prepare for all the questions. From everyone.

4. Spend more time with your friends than your textbooks.I get it, at UW-Madison we have loads of brilliant people who are really dedicated and hardworking. It can be hard for some of us to not put in maximum effort into all of our papers and studying. But in twenty years will you remember the all-nighters at College Library or will you remember the times you stayed up half way through the night laughing with your roommates?

5. Take pictures.Take pictures of the everyday things. Take pictures of the time you went to get breakfast at 7 am on a school day with your roommates just so you could all see each other for a little bit. The little moments can be the best memories.

6. Enjoy your spring break.Unless you are taking a major trip after graduation, this is your last big vacation. Start saving money now because that senior year spring break trip with your best friends is definitely worth every last penny in your bank account.

7. Keep making friends. Just because you're not a freshman anymore doesn't mean that there isn't more room in your social circle. Some of my best friendships have come from my senior year. It is never too late in your college career to make more friends.

8. Be open to possibilities that you never considered before.Maybe you have your post-graduation plans all figured out, but if you're like most of us, it's going to take a little while to figure out what comes next. It will start to stress you out when you get bombarded with questions that you don't have an answer to. Don't let it. This is the time when you can do anything. There doesn't have to be a clear next step. Just take it one day at a time, and be totally open to exploring new possibilities.

9. Don't take on too much.

Because you want to land your dream job, you might think you have to land that perfect internship and found a new club on campus, but remember to take some time to enjoy your senior year with your friends.

10. Do all the things that are only acceptable in college.

Sleep until noon a few times. Wear athletic gear all day long — even if you don't plan to go to the gym. Day drink on someone's porch just because it's nice outside. Skip your responsibilities from time to time to sit on the Terrace. Stand in an absurdly long line with your friends for free food.

11. Remember: you don't have to have it all figured out.Sometimes we get caught up in this idea that the day we leave campus we have to have the next ten years of our life planned out and drive straight to the bank to set up a Roth IRA. It's okay to figure it out as you go. Just know that you don't have to put all this pressure on yourself to have it all planned out tomorrow.

Enjoy every last second of it. Before you know it, you'll be the ones Jumping Around for the last time in Camp Randall. On Wisconsin!