The famous phrase goes, “hindsight is 2020”. Sometimes, this is easier said than done. As a college senior rapidly approaching graduation, I’ve taken some time recently to reflect on my college experience. Throughout the highs and lows that all students face, I appreciate the way college has shaped me into the person I am today as I begin to journey into the real world.
As a wise, second-semester senior, here are some tips I would tell myself at each stage of the college experience.
Starting from the beginning, I would encourage my freshman self to “say yes” as often as possible. Freshman year is a new start for everyone, and it’s unique that all students are experiencing the same adjustment to college life together. Once I was able to overcome my shyness and understand that everyone was looking to make friends, I started meeting people left and right.
I would also encourage you to get involved on campus. Joining student organizations and surrounding yourself with other like-minded people will help you find where you belong. Whether that means joining Greek life, playing intramurals, or joining a club, freshman year is a perfect time to broaden your horizons and dive into all that your campus has to offer.
Sophomore year is a great time to establish your path and focus on yourself with less pressure of having to know exactly what’s next for you post-graduation. With a year of college under your belt, sophomore year allows you to develop a routine and invest time into building relationships. As you start to get more involved with your major, you can set long-term goals based on your strengths and where you fit in.
I’d encourage you to take advantage of sophomore year and enjoy making memories with the people around you! I would tell my sophomore self to live in the moment and embrace the college lifestyle for all its worth.
Junior year is truly the peak of the college experience. You know the ins and outs of campus, you’ve started taking upper-level courses and perhaps even gained real-world experience with an internship. As you navigate your third year at college, things start to become more real. Your older friends are starting to graduate and begin their real-world careers, while others are starting to get engaged. It can be overwhelming, to say the least.
When it’s tempting to look around and become anxious about the future, I would encourage you to cling to the nostalgia that allowed you to fall in love with campus. Continue to make friends and new memories, as junior year is at the heart of your time at college.
All good things must come to an end. Senior year brings conflicting emotions, with its fair share of “lasts”. Despite the feeling of college coming to an end, it can become stressful to begin the job hunt while you are still enrolled in full-time school. Not to mention the scary game of “what if” scenarios that swirl in your head as you approach the unknown adventure post-graduation.
If the pandemic has taught me anything, it’s to never take anything for granted. I think that perfectly encompasses what senior year is all about.