It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday night. I’ve got a cup of tea by my side and I just finished a few last edits on a group paper that are due Monday morning.
I have big plans for the rest of the night: make a few tweaks to my resume so I can submit my application for that job I found the other day, maybe watch an episode or two of Fuller House on Netflix, and fall asleep by 11 pm.
This isn’t really what I imagined my last semester of my undergraduate career would look like.I always envisioned senior year being way less chaotic than it actually has been.
My favorite movies and TV shows always seemed to make it look like a total breeze. The characters floated through a few easy A electives, went out every night of the week, lived in killer apartments with great floor plans and even better décor, and all managed to land their dream jobs before they had even graduated. It looked like a piece of cake. I could totally do that. No sweat.
But as it turns out, senior year isn’t so much of a walk in the park.
Two months out from graduation and the senioritis is real. I’m overloaded with hundreds of pages of readings and endless group projects each week. Weekends are not a time for wild nights out, but sleepy nights in.
On top of all that, the job application process is kind of a nightmare. I’m constantly drafting cover letters, updating my LinkedIn profile, and praying for an awesome job to just fall right into my lap. Add in 20 hours of work each week, maintaining some semblance of a social life, and staying involved with on-campus organizations, and it can be pretty overwhelming.
Here’s the thing, though. I can deal with all the late nights in the library, all the money spent on cups of coffee, all the existential crises over what I want to do with my life as I fill out job applications. I’ve actually gotten pretty good at finding that balance between work and play and sleep over the last three and a half years, so it’s not a huge issue for me.
The real hard part is trying not to wish away the little time I have left in undergrad. It’s so easy to say “I can’t wait to graduate and be done with school forever and never have to write another paper again” now, but come May, my parents are going to have to drag me away from campus kicking and screaming.
I really don’t like when people say that my four years in college are going to be the best years of my life. That implies it’s all downhill after graduation, that there’s nothing to look forward to for the rest of my life. I’m a firm believer that it can’t possibly be true.
But I also know that there’s never going to be a time in my life again when all of my closest friends will live within a one-mile radius of me. There’s never going to be a time in my life again where I’ll be able to hang out in the student center all day long, waiting for familiar faces to pass through with funny stories and—if I’m lucky—meal swipes.
There’s never going to be a time in my life again where I’ll be this intellectually stimulated on a daily basis in class discussions on topics ranging from political advertisements to public health.
There are about 50 days until graduation. There are five more presentations to give, ten more papers to write, two more group projects to work on, hundreds of more pages to read, millions of more jobs to apply for, and at least 60 more classes to sit through.
But I prefer to look at it as 50 more days I get to spend with my best friends, 60 more opportunities for me to learn something new and exciting, and countless more chances to spend time in my favorite spots on- and off-campus, re-discover the best parts of my college town, and create lasting memories before it’s time to say goodbye.
Senior year is proving to be way more of a challenge than I ever expected it to be, but I’m determined to keep on loving every second I have left.