Things They Don’t Tell You About Senior Year

By Beth Winze

There are plenty of articles going around right now encouraging and preparing rising college freshman on everything to expect out of college and how to get involved and make the most of every second you have as a freshman – basically a “College Starter Survival Pack”, a “College for Beginners” guide.  But what I have yet to read or see is a “College Ending Survival Guide”.  So I decided to comprise a list of things that every college senior should know or prepare for, because before you know it, you will be sitting here like me, 60 some odd days from graduation, FREAKING the heck out because you have a senior capstone project, “big girl” job applications, classes to pass and 18 million things you feel like you have yet to accomplish before you step off campus for the last time.

  • Fall semester will feel like most other semesters, a bit more nostalgic, but heck – you have a full 8 months before you need to worry,
  • Spring semester you’ll move back in after Christmas break (enough of that “Winter” break bull crap….it’s CHRISTMAS for Pete’s sake), get your books, write out your semester schedule and commence as usual,
  • After syllabus week it starts to sink in….that was the last syllabus week you ever have to suffer through,
  • Second week you drown looking at all the work this semester holds and keep telling yourself you will complete it…like you have every other semester…but somehow your sub-conscious tells you otherwise,
  • Third week you will start getting grades back and you start to realize that if you mess up this semester and do not pass, you will have to explain to your family why the cap and gown gets to wait another semester (*insert yoga breathing here — deep breath in — deep breath out),
  • Fourth week you are ready to go home and see your family again, but you start to dread spending time away from campus and friends because you know…last semester,
  • Fifth week you start listing off everything you have wanted to do since freshman year and have not done yet because you told yourself you had plenty of time and you create a crammed timeline of how to fit it all in before May,
  • Sixth week, senior class professors start forcing you to learn about mortgages, student loans, insurance, 401k plans, resumes, cover letters and job applications and tell you how they really feel about being an adult, because they know that with only 10 weeks left of your college career they can be honest with you without you dropping out.  You order your cap, gown and tassel and try it on to make sure it fits every 20 minutes,
  • Seventh week, you begin to look at your friends differently.  Every time you hang out you feel your chest grow tighter and tighter because you realize that 11pm trips to Waffle House and late night movies 45 minutes away are not in your future.  A part of you wants to pull away from those friendships because you know how much it is going to rip your heart out to saying good-bye, but the other part of you is so determined to raise hell and memories with those friends that you only find yourself calling them at ungodly hours to sneak in as much time with them as possible,
  • Eighth week….you are days out from Spring Break, excited for a week off but clambering desperately to fill in as much time on campus with friends as possible.  You know that Spring Break means that you are halfway done with this semester and the day you moved back into your dorm/apartment in January feels so far away and you know how much you’ve lied to yourself, telling yourself you had enough time
  • Spring Break starts tomorrow, you do not want it to.  You do not like what it brings.  It means you are on the downhill slide towards graduation.  Doubt and uncertainty are a constant state you live in, but you also have this fearless excitement that forces you to push on.  You have worked so hard for this diploma and you know that you have made this life your own and you have discovered passions and friendships you never thought you would.  So the stress and anxiety are overshadowed by the persistence and the excitement you hold in your heart.  So you just keep praying and hoping that God adds sand to your hour glass so that you can fit in everything.  But you also hope that at the end of this all, you will walk away with something you did not come to college with…a discovered sense of self

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