When I was 18 I was worried that I wouldn't follow through with college.
None of my cousins have, and even my friends have dropped out as well. Nothing against them, but I've always seen myself in that cap and gown getting my college diploma. It has always been a goal, heck it's always been a dream. I want a job in my career and enjoy what I do for work instead of just having a random job to make ends meet that I hate going to every day.
Here I am, a fifth-year student but finally an "official" senior.
The path has been very bumpy and there has been a ton of twists and turns, but I've finally made it to my last semester of college, ever. (Well until grad school but universe give me a couple of years to get my act together, please.) Here is a letter for myself, and hopefully, it'll get you through your final semester too.
To the girl who thought she would never graduate college, this is for you.
It is your last semester of college ever! I never thought we would see this day coming. You're exhausted, you're burnt out and just want to escape the classes, exams, and even the dorms. I know, but you're so close to the finish line you can see it, (physically penned in your planner).
It's okay if it's taken you longer than planned to get your degree. The stress and expectation of going to college for four years only hurt student's mental health in the end. Be kind to yourself. You've applied for graduation, you have planned out who you're giving your graduation tickets to etc. Let that be your drive to the finish line.
Only a couple of more months of the late nights in the library. Only a couple of more months of drinking too much caffeine as you head to your fourth class of the day. Only a couple of more months of making flashcards online, and only a couple of more months of group projects and papers we all dread. Only a few more months of uncomfortable one on one conferences with your professors, and only a few more months with your friends.
You love your friends, I know. They've gotten you through some of your darkest days, breakups, and have stayed up late watching Netflix eating take out. When you leave, you're leaving some of them behind. That's the worst about being friends with younger people in your program. Yet the real friends you'll still talk to weekly, and it's okay if it's not daily. Know they're excited for you to graduate college and will be cheering you on from the sidelines. Across the river, across the state, or across the country. It's not going to be goodbye forever.
There is a lot of stress leading up to your last semester. You have your capstone presentation and thesis's due and honestly, it's terrifying. The pit in your stomach only grows more thinking about it. Hey, you're going to do great. You're passionate about your degree and let that show, your professors want to see the love and passion for the things they taught you and see that you are also passionate about that topic and profession.
Please remember to eat breakfast, drink lots of water and make sure you're getting enough sleep. I know you probably laughed at that because I did too. But seriously, try to take care of yourself the best you can. Use that free college gym while you still have it, and don't burn yourself out too fast at the beginning of the semester, because it's a long one.
Lastly, don't wish it to go by so fast. Live in the moment. Stay up a little late that one night to eat ice-cream and watch a special on tv with your friends. Enjoy your classes with your favorite professors even if you're physically dragging yourself to class because you're exhausted beyond compare. Yes, they will be there still via email when you graduate, but it's not the same. Take a picture of the beautiful campus you walk across every day in your mind. Yes, it will always be there, but you'll get a little homesick from it (as silly as that sounds).
You're so close to your big day of walking across the stage and praying you don't fall on your face. Don't give up now, keep going. You're so so so close to a new beginning.