Five Thoughts From Fall of Senior Year

rows of colorful stacking chairs for fall of senior year class

Happy Tuesday! I’m a little over month into the fall of senior year and it’s all kinds of crazy right now. (For example, I’m normally better about writing posts earlier in the week, but instead this post was written Monday night.) Everyone’s life is different, but here are five thoughts on the fall of senior year and college in general.

1. Senior Year = Responsibilities

While school probably isn’t any harder than usual, it feels like more because the rest of my life is busier This is something I mentioned in my get to know me post from last week.

Once you’ve been on campus for at least three years, as a senior, you have more knowledge about the school and how it works. That’s why you’re likely going to have a couple leadership roles through organizations or work on campus or in the area. If you’ve been at your job long enough, you might have a more senior position. You may be familiar enough to help with a service organization or at your place of worship.

All of that is a generalization and varies with major and stage of life of course. But for me that’s largely held true. I’m more experienced in ways that newer students might not be, which isn’t a brag at all. If anything it just means my schedule is a little more chaotic! But that’s just part of being an older student.

2. With More Responsibilities Comes More School

My course load for this year includes several classes that will probably be the most important ones I take in college. At the top of the list is Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT). So far it feels like a crash course in everything I’ll need to know as a clinical dietitian.

It depends on your college and professors, but the concepts I’m learning from MNT seem far more concretely related to my future as a dietitian than other classes. While I’ve learned things from earlier courses, those emphasized broader nutrition, food service, and communication concepts. MNT on the other hand is tied specifically to clinical dietetics. Between the amount of material and three hour lecture, it feels like drinking from a fire hose, but I’m definitely learning a lot!

For my classes generally, I can’t say there’s more assignments than other semesters, but I’ve noticed that the majority of my classes have conspired to focus on group work and large deadlines. My courses are all upper-level, so this makes sense, but it does feel like more than usual.

3. Senioritis is Very Real

You know what’s funny? Senioritis has hit me hard. I’ve lost a lot of motivation to do schoolwork this fall of senior year and whether that’s burnout, genuinely being done with school, or both, I’m not sure.

That’s not really funny. What is though is that I realized “student” has been a part of my identity for so long. I was one of the most serious homeschool kid you could meet. I genuinely liked school! Not just the learning–I always hope to appreciate that–but the projects and readings too. But after fifteen years, I’m ready to let “student” go and move on to the next stage.

I don’t know if life gets easier or harder after this. That will depend on my job, skills, connections, and a bit of luck. There’s a lot of uncertainty in my future and my plans for the future. I can say that I have two rather certain, overall thoughts about “the college experience”.

4. College Can Be Frustrating

In many ways, college sucks. Students pay colleges a growing lump of cash or promise of that cash in order to learn. Learning involves putting ourselves through difficult tests, group projects, and assignments. At the same time, we have various amounts of work, family responsibilities, organizations, personal projects and stressors, and resume builders. There’s a reason we find jokes and memes about caffeine and stress very relatable!

I think sometimes as college students we can very easily fall prey to a cultural trend called “Who’s More Stressed?” This game involves ranting about all the hard things in our life to whoever’s willing to strike up a conversation. Then the other person in that conversation tries to outdo the original talker in conveying their stress level. The winner gets sympathy and a gallon of coffee for their suffering.

When we choose to play this game, often it comes at the cost of forgetting or ignoring the good things. Sometimes I say I’m so busy on weeks I’m not really so I can sympathize with friends. And while it’s good to help friends, trying to be the most stressed is not helpful because there really is no winner! Yes college has some glaring negatives, but we need to stop overlooking the positives. Which leads me to my last point…

5. College Can Really Be Awesome

Some people might have peaked in high school and if so, I hope they enjoyed it. I on the other hand, had a hard time with my school and social life back then. Once I got over the nervousness of beginning college, I loved it! I can hang out with friends way more easily than in high school or probably the future. I’m lucky enough to have my job and classes within walking distance. I’ve had so many opportunities I never would’ve imagined possible. And I have quite a bit of control over my schedule. Even if it feels boxed in by classes, I chose those classes.

I still have struggles that distract me from the positives because life is hard. But college has been a time for me to become my own person. That includes overcoming those struggles and finding opportunities to grow. Like a lot of things in life, it’s what you make of it, and I’m happy with my time in college, struggles and all.

What’s something you appreciate about college?

Until next time,

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