"I can't wait to graduate."

I've lost count of how many times I've said those five words to my friends throughout this summer. I'm eagerly awaiting move-in day and my first day of classes because I cannot wait until I reach the day I walk across the stage, receive my diploma, and start my new life in the adult world.

I am a senior who's got one foot out the door, in every sense of the phrase.

It's not that I don't love college or my friends there. I've made some of my best memories in college, and I've met some of my best friends, friends who I hope will stay in my life for a very long time. I love college even more than I loved high school, and as I've gone through these last three years as a student, I've learned so many wonderful things about myself, the world around me, and I've found a sense of belonging in so many ways.

I'm stuck between a love for college and a desire to see the world as a "normal adult."

I wouldn't describe this feeling as "senioritis." I would call it more a feeling of anticipation to greet the world around me. Last school year, I watched many of my close friends graduate, and they've been telling about what life is like after graduation. It's not incredibly different from college, but there is definitely a greater sense of freedom and a knowledge that all your hard work has finally paid off. You've officially earned the right to never write another essay or stay up until 3:00 in the morning in the library cramming for an exam. People will no longer see you as a student, but rather as an adult who has a career and a place in the world.

Let me tell you, I cannot wait until that day arrives. I can't wait to start my first post-college job, have more time to (hopefully) travel and explore the world around me, and hold my head high knowing that I worked hard for sixteen years and emerged from the other side of the tunnel. I'm also incredibly excited to feel the relief of starting a career and continuing to forge a path for myself.

But the closer I get to graduation, the more I remember that I need to cherish every moment that comes my way for the rest of my college career.

I still have nine months until I graduate, so I need to make the most of them. One day, when I'm several years removed from graduation, I'll want to look back and think of beautiful memories where I lived in the moment and didn't obsess over counting down the days until graduation. My life doesn't simply start when I walk across the stage and receive my diploma. It's been happening all around me right now, and I want to enjoy every moment I can.

Graduation will be here sooner than I know it. So for now, I need to remember to soak in every last moment of college and find the joy in everything because I will never find another experience like this again.