10 Things Only Super Seniors Understand

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First you go to high school for four years, and then college and then comes a real job, right? I’ll be the first to admit I like to follow what I think of as “the rules”—I used find myself confused about why being a super senior was a thing. That is, until I became one myself.

About to enter your fifth year of college or more? These will sound awfully familiar to you, super senior.

1. You Don’t Know How to Tell People What Year You Are

How many icebreakers start with questions about your major, your hometown and your year? It used to be easy for me: “Hi, I’m an English major and I’m a junior.” But now? Saying you’re a senior isn’t quite accurate, yet super senior sounds awkward. There’s a reason you don’t hear it very often. I could try “fifth year senior,” maybe? Or I’ll just smile and ignore the question.

2. Graduation is an awkward thing

I attended my school’s graduation ceremony in June, six months before I’ll be done with school. It was either that or attend the one six months after I finish with people I wouldn’t know. Yeah, no thanks. So the camaraderie amongst the people around me in that stadium? I couldn’t exactly relate to it. I did spend a lot of time on Twitter that day, though.

3. You feel like a liar

Thanks to my parents’ tendency for posting pictures on Facebook, my extended family found out about my graduation ceremony. So this summer, they congratulated me over and over, and I received lovely graduation gifts. Don’t get me wrong—those gifts were awesome. But it also felt weird AF to be congratulated on something I hadn’t technically done yet. I technically lied by nodding along and thanking them, but correcting them would also bring up a whole can of worms.

4. You get one last summer

Although summer doesn’t quite feel like summer when working two jobs, I can’t tell you how good it felt to listen to my (former) classmates complain about the job search and whatnot while I sat back with the thought that I had a whole summer ahead of me.

5. You feel like people are judging

In high school, super seniors were a cringe-worthy topic. Like…how was it even possible for someone to flunk out of ninth grade algebra? They looked visibly older than everyone else too, which didn’t help. The same line of thought applies here. Rationally, you may only be 1-2 years older than your classmates, and in your 20’s the difference doesn’t stick out too much. But if you go to a small school, you can’t help but feel like all eyes are on you.

6. You Might Feel Pressured to Do it All

Seniors usually spend their last year doing everything one last time, from sitting in their favorite campus coffee shop to pulling their hopefully last dreaded all-nighter to finish that English paper. But as a super senior, you might feel constantly reminded of the fact that since you’re getting more time on campus than most, you need to make up for it by doing everything. Whether it’s dancing at all the frat parties until the cows come home or signing up for every interesting elective, you feel like you don’t want to miss anything. How exhausting.

7. You realize another year/semester doesn’t keep the anxiety away

I’m an anxious and uptight person (putting it mildly), and I originally thought having more time would help me stop stressing about what to do after college. After all, when a waiter asks you if you’d like more time to decide what meal to order, you usually calm down and realize that yes, you do want that burger instead of a salad. But just because you’ve signed up for more time in school doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve stumbled upon some magical elixir that tells you what to do with your life.

8. You might not want to go back to school

In the spring, if you spent what seemed like countless hours listening to everyone brag about how they wrote their last paper or how they’d attended their last lecture ever, you might start to feel jealous. I mean, they get to start being real #adults while in the fall you’ll go back to slaving away in the library. The idea of scrambling to complete long readings and struggling to stay awake in class does not seem appealing.

9. You might feel lazy

Did I also mention I’m a perfectionist? As someone who always believed in finishing college in four years as you’re “supposed to,” going to school for another quarter makes me feel like I slacked off, even though I know I didn’t. Not a pleasant thought.

10. It literally doesn’t matter what people think

Here comes the cheesiness: At the end of the day, it’s your life. Maybe you took a semester off for personal reasons, or you chose to prolong your college career to make room for internships (like I did). Either way, enjoy your last semester or year however you want.

Valerie is a senior at the University of Washington, studying English/Creative Writing and History. She loves anything caffeinated, Netflix and long road trips. She'll always be obsessed with Once Upon a Time, Scandal, Private Practice and Agents of Shield.

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