Sunday, January 29, 2017

A Letter To The Second Semester Senior

photo cred: Taylor Wolfe Photography
Dear Senior,

Right now, you're most likely in the double digits until graduation.  You're well into your last semester of college and you're probably filled with a lot of different emotions.  Or just coffee and Jimmy John's subs.  At least that's what it was for me. 

I'm here as fairly recent graduate to give you a few tips on how to spend your last semester.  Some of these tips I've done, and some of them I haven't, which is making me think about going back for a Masters just so I can do the things I didn't get (or forgot) to do.  Listen to these tips or pass them along to another in-denial senior.  I just hope that you'll get something out of this and make the most of your last semester.

Finish up that bucket list.  If you came in as a freshman with all these ideas and plans bustling around in your head, now's your chance to finish them.  Go to that restaurant in town that everyone raves about but you haven't been to yet, go see a play or an orchestra performance, visit a nearby hiking trail, streak the Quad (I don't know, it's your life.).

Hand write thank-you notes to all of your favorite professors.  It's always a good idea to write someone a thank-you letter, no matter the reason.  Show your favorite professors that you appreciate and value their dedication and what they taught you.  Not only will it make you feel good, it'll make them feel great.  Plus, it's nice to give back.

Take a nostalgic walk around campus (especially with friends).  Whether this involves a certain type of drink or not, take the time to visit your old stomping grounds on campus.  Go back to your freshman year dorm, the building that held your first ever college class, and the tree that you sat under with your best friend on a really nice day.

(Str)Ikenberry represent!
Go to that gross dining hall one last time.  Now that you live off-campus, you can afford to buy yourself actual groceries and not have to go to the dining halls on campus as often.  Still, you should go back and revisit that dining hall that you used to frequent all the time.  Not gonna lie, I'm a little upset about not going to D-Hall one last time before they tore it down.  Bless the Grilled Cheese Thursdays, countless band camp meals, and the "SWEETS" chants. 

Take pics, take pics, take pics.  You can never have enough pictures of your time spent in college.  Save those game day Snapchat selfies and that picture you took of your friend half asleep at their laptop during your 12-hour study session at the library.  You're going to look back on these pictures and feel happy that you've kept them around.

Grab some more college gear.  Thinking about buying that (overpriced) college sweatshirt?  Just do it.  I left JMU with four college shirts and I wish I would have bought a pair of comfy sweatpants, a hat, and probably a shot glass or two.  

Kick senioritis in the butt.  The struggle is definitely real when it comes to senioritis because you just want to get the heck outta there.  Keep pushing through, though--the final stretch isn't when you should slack off.

Make plans with friends you haven't seen in a while.  You know that one friend you made in some GenEd class freshman year?  And you two still keep in touch, but with your different majors and schedules, you haven't seen each other in three years?  Make plans with them.  Spend some time with old friends and catch up before you all go your separate ways and start new adventures.

Take in every last drop.  Celebrate your last first day, last first week, last first month, etc. This semester is going to fly by and before you know it, you're going to be walking up on a stage in a v unflattering cap and gown and thinking, "Mama, I made it," but also, "Can I go back and do it again?"  Cherish all these familiar moments so when you leave, you'll feel happy about the way your four years at college ended up.

To the Class of 2017, I hope your last semester will be your most memorable.  Now, go chug another coffee and finish that paper, because you've got a lot to do before graduation.

A 2016 graduate who has a very special place in her heart for JMU

If you're staying in town after graduation, take some graduation pictures after the semester is over because the campus won't be as crowded and there won't be a group of seniors shotgunning beers behind you.  (But if that doesn't scream "college," honestly, what does?)

photo cred: Taylor Wolfe Photography

Quote of the day: "How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard?"

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