By: Christina Giordano, Spring Conference Co-Chair
Senior year is great because it’s the culmination of your undergraduate college career. There are awesome underrated things about being a senior that you should know, and then there are realistic expectations you have to set for yourself in terms of friends, activities, and the other major parts of your college ecosystem. Not every moment is as exciting and glamorous as you may think. Here we go:
Plan your classes wisely. If you’re reading this as a freshman or sophomore, definitely plan to take a full course load now and indulge in a lighter class schedule senior year. You’re more motivated at the beginning of college and this leaves more time to do other things whether you use it to search for more jobs...or hang out with friends.
Make wise choices. Do things that are actually fun. Make time for people you want to see. You’ll find that you realize what activities actually bring you joy and who you want to spend time with and that’s ok. Stop doing things that you feel like you’re forced to. If you’ve burned out in college you know that it’s not fun and if you haven’t senior year is not the time to start wearing yourself out.
You have less friends on campus. It’s really weird but you’re at the top of the food chain now. A lot of my mentors and friends were upperclassmen so when you come back to campus in the fall, it’s strange not having them within a four block radius. Even if they work in the DC area it is different. You also might know significantly less of the population on campus because there is an entire new freshmen class. So get to know freshmen through your student orgs or other ways and it’s not too late to get to know other classmates in your year.
Participate. Leave no stone unturned. Actively participate by supporting friends by going to their org’s events or be their +1 at work or internship events. Go to the Welcome Week activities, and especially go to the Senior Class Gift Campaign events because this is the rare occasion where you’ll see a lot of random people from your class. My goal for this year is to get to the week of graduation and have no regrets thinking “What If”.
Post-grad life is on everyone’s mind. Everyone is thinking about post-grad because everyone is asking you about post-grad. Your friends and the person sitting next to you in class is on the job or grad school hunt. Don’t let this stress you out, be proactive but don’t sit at home on a Friday and troll LinkedIn looking for jobs. Use your time efficiently and take advantages of the resources we have at this school to make it easier.
Explore. Spend time with your best friends by adventuring in DC. The time is now to do the things you said you’d always get around to, whether it’s something tourist-y like visiting every single Smithsonian's museum or eating at a new restaurant.
Reflect. I find myself reflecting a lot this year and that’s a good thing so embrace it. You’ll think back to your freshman year self and hopefully be proud of how far you’ve come. College truly does go by quickly. You’ll find yourself be a little more nostalgic than usual and that’s ok.
Minimize the stress. Like I said, be prepared for class, do your homework, study for tests and all that jazz but don’t forget to see the big picture and use your time efficiently. It’s a limited resource. Also, group projects do not go away and homework still needs to be done so don’t think you can hide from school work.
Senior year can be extremely stressful and overwhelming, honestly just like any other year of college. The main takeaway for me is to enjoy your time. As they say, “if you’re going to be there, be all there.” Wherever you choose to be, soak it in and try not to have any regrets. Raise High!