The beginning of the semester is right around the corner, and this year it will finally be back to almost normal. It’s hard to believe that, for over a year, my college experience has been halted by the pandemic. I’ve missed out on so much, but I’m not going to let that stop me from living out the true college lifestyle. If you’re like me and going into your final year of college, or if you’re a college student looking to make up for lost time, this article is for you. I’ve rounded up some of the best tips from our CF Community Members on how they plan to get the most out of their senior year.
Prioritize Your Time
One of the first things you learn as a college student is the importance of time management. Many of us have forgotten how to use this basic skill with classes being online. I can admit when my camera was off I was either in bed sleeping or trying to finish my homework for the class I had after. If you want to make the most out of your senior year you have to find a balance between school and having fun.
Sydney Stricker, a rising senior at Kansas State University, couldn’t agree more with this piece of advice. “This year I’m so excited to get back on campus, and I’m even more excited for tailgating and games to start back up!” she exclaimed. “I’m going to make the most of my senior year by really prioritizing my time, so I don’t have to miss out on any of the fun festivities. It’s crazy that the last time things were normal in school I was a sophomore, and now I’m senior. I’m ready to live my life to the fullest this year by working hard and playing hard!”
Build Your Industry Skills
As my summer internship nears its end, it is so tempting to log off from my last day and forget about having to work for a while. However, I have to remind myself that in a year I will be pursuing my career full time. Crazy, right? Although it is time to let loose and have fun, it is important to not lose sight of your goals and aspirations after college.
One way rising senior Jaelen Lisberg at University of Illinois is continuing to grow in her career is by extending her internship into the fall. “My course load this semester is super light, so I really want to spend my downtime working, gaining industry experience, and being productive.” She says. “I’m lucky to have participated in such an awesome internship program this summer, and I’m grateful to have this opportunity!”
Say ‘Yes’ To Making Memories
This advice may sound cliche, but over the past year I have noticed myself and others turn down opportunities just because they didn’t seem as fun as pre-pandemic events. I let time slip away and now I am left with one final year to be a college student. From grabbing coffee with your roommate to planning a spontaneous weekend trip with your friends, you never know when saying ‘yes’ to something will make lifelong memories.
Rising senior Emma Atchison at University of Louisville reflected on her past year and how she is going to put herself back out there this year. “I think it was really easy to get really comfortable not being pushed outside your comfort zone while in quarantine, I can especially relate to that,” she told me. “But it’s my last year, so I want to make it my best year yet! I plan on saying yes to anything that could lead to an adventure or create a memory. Even if I can find a million excuses to say no, I want to push myself out of my comfort zone enough to say yes. I really want to live it up and not turn down a second of excitement!”
Reschedule Your Missed Opportunities
There’s no doubt that we all missed out on something this past year that we were looking forward to. But who says you can never experience it ever again? If there is something you were dying to experience but missed out on due to the pandemic, try to reschedule it for your senior year.
Hannah Nichols, a rising senior at Bard College, shares how she made her dreams of studying abroad a reality. “As a photography major and someone who loves French, I am super excited to study abroad in Paris this fall. My original plan was to study abroad as a junior, but like most people, those plans were cancelled because of Covid-19. Although studying abroad as a senior isn’t very common, I decided to push the photo department at my school to allow me to go abroad. From the pandemic I have learned not to take anything for granted, especially travel, as well as the importance of thinking outside the box and doing things that aren’t necessarily ‘the norm.’ I have definitely had to think outside the box in order to squeeze my abroad experience into my senior year and still graduate on time in the spring, but I’m so glad I made the decision to go to Paris!” she says.
Focus on Yourself
One positive that has come out of this past year is that all the extra time gave us the opportunity to focus on ourselves and our wellbeing. Although all this advice is amazing and I am going to take every piece of it, none of it will be fulfilling unless we are happy with ourselves. It is important that we continue to make time for the little things that make us happy in the midst of the chaos of senior year.
Deveshi Trehan, a rising senior at SCAD Atlanta, told me how she prioritizes herself. “As I step into my senior year, I’m going to continue making time to do things that bring me peace, like journaling, working out or even going on long drives,” she says. “I’m going to continue to prioritize my ‘me time’ because I’ve been my biggest strength during these tough times. Given the fact that senior year is the most stressful period of our lives, it’s easy to neglect our mental health when in reality, it should be our first priority – that’s what the pandemic taught me!”
In the end, as long as you feel satisfied with how you spent your senior year, that’s all that matters. Remember, you missed out on a year and a half of school, so trying to fit everything into your senior year may not work out. Prioritize what you want to experience and save the rest for after you graduate. With that in mind, here’s to the best senior year and make lasting memories!
Feature photo by @amiahkailee