10 Thoughts From Rising College Seniors (Please Don’t Ask Me What’s Next)

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Just one year left and we get all of the feels. As we start getting closer to the middle of the summer it becomes more real each day. We only have one year left to finish our majors, make friends and hide in our sheltered status as “student.” So, which are you? The type who freaks out every time you tell someone you’re now a senior? Or the kind who casually slips it into conversation?

1. I’m a WHAT?

How did this even happen? Remember the late night midterm cram sessions? The bar crawls even when you have a 9 a.m. the next day? The nights when you and your roommates stay up late watching Netflix, writing papers or just talking and laughing together? Remember the anticipation, freshman year first semester, when you checked your final grades for the first time? What about your first date in college where you sat across from the table from each other with nothing to say (Um, do you like cheese?)?  Who would’ve thought that we would even make it this far?

2. I Can’t Wait to be Done

Senioritis (noun): The reason why we signed up for the minimum number of credits and three 200 level classes. So close to picking up our cap and gowns, we can almost taste it. “I’m looking forward to this upcoming year! I’ve worked hard the last three years and I’m going to be able to relax a little bit finally!” Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology senior Luke Miller said. Who cares about living in a #collegetown when you can dream about the days where you won’t be pulling all-nighters writing about Faulkner’s narrative style spending blue-skied days in the library or scheduling people for coffee dates in between classes? Time to let loose and graduate already!

3. I Can’t Wait to be Back

Summer—never feels long enough, but when you’re waking up for work every morning, getting sweat stains on your favorite t-shirt and realizing that you clicked “next episode” through an entire season of Friends in two days, it can feel never-ending. “After working a busy internship after my third year, I’m looking forward to returning to college with more maturity and a greater appreciation for the freedom that university life affords students,” University of Virginia senior Nazar Aljassar said. Embrace the “fourth-year chill” and wind down by crossing things off your bucket list. Those beach volleyball courts you’ve always wanted to run across, the pool and hot tub you have a free membership to and never use…Make college about more than just classes.

4. Oh My God, I Forgot a Grad Rec

All those times you said, “It’s fine. I’ll just take it over the summer or something.” Well, you ran out of summers. Time to check your graduation and major requirements and make sure the classes you need are offered in the semesters you plan to take them. Saving a writing requirement that can be filled by a huge variety of classes until your last semester should be fine, but saving the medieval architecture class you need for your major may not be such a great idea. Check now and make sure your schedule really will let you whip that tassel back and forth (or just Justin Bieber-style flick it to the side—no judgment).

5. I Finally Found My Place

Welcome to the best year ever. You know everyone, you finally got your roommate and housing situation under control and you’re all legal. “Honestly, after studying abroad, I’m just really excited to be reunited with all my friends in our house,” University of Virginia senior Scarlett Saunders said. This is the year to focus on relationships instead of letting schoolwork run your life. Remember that list of movies your friend group has been compiling over the year? Have at ‘em.

6. What is Love, Really?

Relationship update: engaged. 128 likes, huge ring, happy couple. Panic ensues. That boy you met way back in your freshman or sophomore year, the one you survived multiple summers with, the one you can’t imagine college without—are you going to get a ring? Alternatively: Why the f–k haven’t you met your true love yet? Maybe you remember those nights out where you made eye contact, but didn’t walk over to him. The swiping right into a limbo of uncertainty. Either way the stress is too much. Who wants ice cream?

7. I Have No Plan

One part excited, three parts terrified seems to the makeup of today’s college seniors. “I’ve seen a lot of friends figure out exactly what they want to do with their lives while in college, but here I am almost finished with undergrad and I feel nowhere nearer to knowing what I what to do. Some days I even feel like I’m farther from knowing than when I started college. I just don’t want to graduate and then wake up one day a few years down the road and realize that I’m unhappy because the career path I’m on was something I stumbled into, not something I willingly picked,” University of Virginia senior Shade Wilson said. While it may feel like everyone’s lives are falling into place and leaving you in the dust, don’t worry. Just as many of us have no idea what’s coming. “Dear god, what am I doing after next May?” Saunders said. I certainly have no idea.

8. What are GREs?

Please, I don’t even want to think about it. Did you know there’s a math section? Kill me.

9. I Don’t Have to Think About Jobs Yet, Right?

Tick tock, tick tock. Graduation creeps closer and closer. Flipping through the calendar, your breathing gets heavy as you realize: You don’t know what comes next. You put off the job hunt and suddenly it seems like graduation lies just around the corner. “Now I have to figure out what to tell people when they ask me what I plan to do after college,” Dickenson College senior Alexis Newton said. Don’t suffocate in the pressure you’ve been avoiding just yet! Yes, a job should sit in the back of your mind as an end goal, but don’t worry too much. We still have to survive another few rounds of midterms, finals and papers. Who’s excited? Or better, who needs another round of espresso?

10. Things Will Never be the Same

We’re growing up. While we’ll take so many things with us—from the friends we made to our newfound caffeine addiction—we’ll never be quite the same after we’ve finished our undergrad. Whether we find ourselves avoiding the real world with more school, launching ourselves into a new adventure or just winging it and hoping this year will help us answer the dreaded: “What’s next?” we now have to tools and the maturity (lolz) to keep on swimming.

Kristen is a Senior (or fourth year, as we call them!) at the University of Virginia, studying Art History and Media Studies. She loves modern art, walking around New York and fancy cheese.

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