One day you’re moving into your painfully small, freshman year triple, and the next, you’re ordering your cap and gown for graduation. Though we learn a lot about ourselves and about life during our time at UD, our last year provides some especially important lessons that make it different from any other year. Senior year is special for a multitude of reasons, but here are some things about it that I wish I had known at the beginning.
1. Scheduling Does Not Get Easier
For those of us who understand the struggle of not getting classes that we need, senior year seems to be the light at the end of the tunnel. Seniors get to register first! We seem to forget, though, that there are over four-thousand seniors at this point, and that isn’t counting the number of juniors who are seniors by credits. Unfortunately, we still have to stress about getting the classes we need, and the pressure is worse because we only have until spring to be able to graduate on time!
2. You’ll Still Be Making Friends
Most people assume that because it’s your last year, you’ve already made all the friends you’re going to have, but you’ll still be meeting people you adore even toward the end of your last year. There will be people you’ve met in class or at a club meeting that will end up being the people you hug tight while you ugly cry at graduation. Just as you’ll lose friends throughout your four years, you’ll also continue to find new ones at every stage, and senior year is no exception.
3. The Word “Senior” Will Never Feel Like It Applies To You
No matter how many times you check UDSIS or receive emails titled “Information Regarding Graduation,” it will never feel like the word “senior” is directed at you. It will never feel right to say you’re a senior, and if you ever finally accept it, it’ll probably be when your cap and gown finally come in.
4. You Will Still Have Homework
College isn’t like high school, where senior year was no work, no stress, and all fun. You’ll still have work (sometimes more than you’ve ever had before) and exams that stress you out. Most importantly, a lot of the work you will be doing is for grad school or job hunting, which adds even more pressure. Remember being able to leave school early or being exempt from finals? That’s definitely not a thing anymore.
5. You Probably Won’t Find Your Dream Job At A Career Fair
Although career fairs can be helpful for making connections and learning how to present yourself to possible employers, people usually get their hopes up and are disappointed when they don’t leave the career fair with at least an interview. Sometimes, you leave with all of the resume copies you brought and that’s okay. Career fairs aren’t the only place to find a job, and most people find jobs elsewhere, anyway. Even though they are a nice resource to have, don’t feel like that’s your only opportunity to find work.
6. You Are Not The Only One Feeling Unprepared
There is a point during your first semester of senior year where everyone begins to panic. We worry about making sure we graduate on time, making sure we have a job or get into graduate school, and making sure we hold on to our sanity in the meantime. It’s easy to feel like you’re alone in these struggles, but this is not the case. Even if your friends or the people in your major are taking a different path than you are, you will still be fine. Everyone is pretty much in the same situation as you are, and it’s okay to take a step back and try to relax because you only get to live your senior year once.
7. Anything And Everything Will Make You Emotional
My last time registering? Cried. Last first days of each semester? Definite tears. Every time I walk past my freshman year dorm building? Don’t even get me started. The campus starts to look different when you realize that the time you have left here is limited to the few months left in your current planner. The campus looks the way it did when you first went on a tour, and you have the sudden urge to start working on that UD Bucket List you heard about from your freshman year RA.
8. Applying For Jobs Or Graduate School Is Terrifying
Nothing will prepare you for the stress of submitting applications and resumes when you know the results define your future after graduation. No matter which path you choose, you will find yourself asking your professors and advisors a million questions just to make sure you’re doing everything correctly. Be prepared to feel totally overwhelmed for the first few months of the school year and then nostalgic for the rest of your time here.
9. All Of The Cheesy Advice You’ve Been Told Is Actually True
“It flies by!” “Enjoy every moment!” “Graduation will be here before you know it!” Blah, blah, blah. As a freshman, I remember laughing at this while I drowned in calculus homework in my dorm room. Unfortunately, it’s all true. All of those clichés about growing up and experiencing the best days of your life are 100% true, and I cannot stress this enough. Obviously, a lifetime of knowledge cannot be shared, so no one really believes these things until your degree checkout is burning a hole in your email inbox, but it’s still worth it to know ahead of time.
10. UD Is The Best School You Could Have Chosen
We can complain about the struggles of parking, dorm life, registering, and stressful classes, but senior year brings the sudden realization that you couldn’t have chosen a better home for your four years of college. UD is special in ways that those who aren’t Blue Hens will never understand, and there is a reason that alumni are always stressing the fact that we’re lucky to be students right now. Senior year makes you realize just how lucky you are to be able to call UD your home and how sad you will be when you have to say goodbye.