Sunday, June 24, 2018

An Open Letter to my Senior Year of College

Dear Senior Year,

How do I even start this letter off? I went through so much this past school year, and you really taught me a lot, Senior Year. I finished up my degree in International studies with minors in English and European Studies and it felt like the busiest year yet. Not only was I finishing my classes, but I also had to figure out where to live after graduating and find a job when my status of "student" would no longer be accurate.

Senior Year, I hated you and loved you all at once. I hated that you were difficult and demanding and put me through so much, but I also love you for it because I grew so much as a person. I loved that you reaffirmed my belief that it would all be okay in the end if I tried my hardest and kept my eyes set on my goals, and that you provided the time for me to travel a little bit and see the people I love the most.

It's insane how different you were from my senior year of high school. I thought I would feel similar to how I did four years ago - excited to be done with school and ready to start my new adventure. There were many nights full of tears, however. Tears about all the unknowns in my life, and tears for all of the comforts of being a student I would be leaving behind. I didn't realize how much I love school and learning, or how upset I'd be leaving it behind (for now). It's scary leaping out into a world that's so unfamiliar. The "real world" some call it, but I kind of hate it when people say that.

Nothing about college hasn't been "real" and I feel that name discredits all the hard work students put into their studies, jobs, clubs, or anything else they do. All of those things count in the post-school world, but people seem to think that it's all child's play or that it isn't really hard work. It is, and students have to balance a lot. That's not to say you don't have to balance a lot when it comes time to starting your career, but Senior Year, you taught me to value my experience of being a student and all that comes with it.

Life post-college will be about growth and figuring out further who I am. It's filled with a lot of uncertainty but also a lot of excitement now that I've gone through graduation, and that I've mourned the loss of you, Senior Year. You came and went much too quickly, and it left me with whiplash. I frantically tried to enjoy the year while balancing everything else in my life, and was desperate to feel like I didn't miss out on anything. Through all of that, you showed me who my real friends are, and aren't. It stung, but I realized that not all relationships are healthy or worth the time and effort I could be spending on the ones that are healthy and fulfilling. This made me happier in the end, and I've learned even more about myself.

College started with me moving to a place where I knew no one, and it's ending with me having found a community I love. People were brought into my life that I had no idea about before, and now they've become the largest parts in it, and I couldn't be more grateful to have them. Senior Year, I'll never forget all the trials, lessons, or rewards you brought into my life. I hope that the future is filled with even more, and I know I'm even better prepared for it because of you.