Dear College Senior,
It may feel like just yesterday when you stepped into your dorm room for your first year, moving in with suitcases of clothes for every season and saying goodbye to your parents. As you enter your last first day of school, I wanted to share with you some of the experiences senior year brings forth and how you can truly make the most of your last year as a college student.
I will say that senior year is a roller coaster of emotions. You will be excited and carefree entering your classes, and moving in will feel like a breeze. You can now navigate your way through campus (including shortcuts and hidden spaces) and you’ll feel more confident than ever when others ask you questions. Your class schedule might involve a three-day weekend with a smaller, 12 credit course load, and you will be super ecstatic for all that is to come in the year. Throughout the year, I guarantee you will both cry and laugh while feeling worried and anxious as you see updates on friends making life-changing moves across the country and others embarking on a well-deserved vacation. The stress of what is to come post-graduation – the uncertainty of adulting – will have you tangled up in a mix of emotions, but somehow, you will manage to survive because you’ll look forward to becoming a graduate.
Though it may seem like a long road to graduation, with senior thesis projects and graduation capstones, I advise you to enjoy every moment of your senior year – including the papers, group projects, capstone presentations, and classes – because the time will fly faster than you imagine. In addition to the academics, be sure to revel in the continued adventures you will have with your friends, whether it be visiting a favorite local diner for brunch or simply hanging out with your besties for a night in. Take advantage of the fact that you and your best friends live within walking distance of each other and make sure to create late-night memories with your roommates. Some of my senior year highlights include the times my roommates and I would spend in our house, talking late at night or eating dinner together. Soak up both the on-campus and off-campus opportunities that you have established yourself in throughout your four years. The student organizations, weekend parties, and the free time you have in your schedule will teach you time management, as well as how to have a work-life balance, which is crucial in the world of adulting.
One of the best decisions I made as a senior was signing up for classes I never imagined I would in various topics that had nothing to do with my field of study. Classes such as nutrition and cooking, English literature, and youth mentorship allowed me to explore beyond my major. I strongly suggest signing up for classes you have always wanted to take but have never had the flexibility to do so. Senior year classes should be fun, and these extra electives will provide you with the opportunity to explore topics that are relevant to everyday life, such as cooking, and they may even offer a fun break to end the day, like salsa dancing. If you are worried that these extra electives will hinder your overall GPA, then remember that you can take classes on a pass/fail basis, so they will not factor into your overall GPA. Senior year is your chance to delve into topics that interest you that you did not get the chance to pursue in the past.
Finally, the best advice I can give you is this: do not fret about the future because it will all work out. At some point during your senior year, you will feel a bit discouraged when your job application gets rejected, or maybe you will completely break down over the fact that you have no solid plan after graduation. But you know what? It is okay, and it will all work out. You will see some friends getting engaged and planning weddings while others decide to pursue graduate school. Eventually, you will land a job and figure it all out. I advise you to be in the moment and, most importantly, be patient.
While senior year has its ups and downs, it is certainly a time of transition and change, from earning your well-deserved degree to starting the journey of “adulting.” Take the year to thank all your mentors, professors, and friends, and appreciate all the opportunities you have been given. It will not hit you that you have graduated until the fall when everyone returns to school and you will not. Dwell in this moment because senior year is like no other. Study hard, have fun, and excel in the art of being patient.
An amateur to young adulthood
Sara Kim graduated with a B.A. in Journalism and a double minor in Health Policy and Management and Asian American Studies from Ithaca College. She currently works as an Event Coordinator at a non-profit. In her free time, she enjoys working out, reading, watching movies, and cooking. Fun fact: as a foodie, she loves to try new foods and travel to new places.