An Open Letter To My Fellow Senior Class

An Open Letter To My Fellow Senior Class

Don't just count down the time until graduation—make the time count.
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Thirty-two days. That's all that stands between us and graduation. Throughout our undergraduate careers, the notion of graduation and the "real world" has always been something to strive toward. However, now that the time is so near, I cannot help but reflect on the past four years at NC State, and apprehensively anticipate leaving the place that I consider my home.

Four years is a long time. I have read more textbooks than I ever thought possible, mastered the art of procrastination, learned to talk my way out of any situation, and written so many papers that I will probably permanently have tendonitis. However, those four years have flown by, and they have been some of the best years of my life. I now see why alumni always advise us to enjoy our college years—there's really nothing quite like the university experience.

I can still remember my very first day freshman year. I can feel the nervous anticipation, the butterflies in my stomach as I moved into my dorm, met my hallmates and walked to my first college class. I was awe-struck at the size of the campus and the large number of students who attended each day. Four years later, I am still just as amazed at the beauty and innovation present at this school.

Throughout my time here, I have seen NC State grow at an unprecedented rate. Our class is the one who has seen and experienced both the old Talley (RIP Taco Bell) as well as the new, refurbished version! Hunt library is another great example of how we got to watch our campus expand to what it is now. As we round out our last few weeks here, it is important to remember these thoughts and feelings we had regarding our college career those years ago, and recognize the growth and experiences we have had along this journey.

These last few weeks will fly by. Before you know it, it will be time to don our caps and gowns and commemorate the accomplishment of receiving a university degree. It's going to be a whirlwind of emotions, so make sure to enjoy each moment while you can. Although the workload is intense, allow yourself to spend time with your friends and participate in campus events—the next vacation we get from school is going to be a permanent one.

Walk the long way to class and soak in the atmosphere around campus. Visit old professors and thank them for making your time at this institution a valuable one. The notion of no more classes, papers, and exams is a tantalizing one; however, attempt to remain present and enjoy every last second of time you have left. After this semester ends, your undergraduate career ends forever.

I'm going to miss so much. Tailgating before football games, cheering at basketball games, sorority functions, concerts, even the vibe of Hillsborough street—these are all aspects of our school that have been assimilated as part of my identity. When someone asks me to tell them about myself, the first thing I say is "I'm a student at NC State." It's frightening and upsetting and stressful to have something that is such a deeply ingrained part of my identity disappear in just a few short weeks. That's exactly why we have to make each last day count.

If there are things you have been meaning to do at your school before graduating, get them done! Visit the cool coffee shop you've been meaning to check out, go jump in lake Raleigh, or watch the sunset from the top deck of Hunt library. Do it all while you still have the chance. Go out, have a great time, and live these last weeks to the fullest. Or choose to stay in, and spend quality time with friends you made throughout the years that have now become family.

Reminisce. Look back at each of your successes, struggles, and allow yourself to be nostalgic. Four years of college has allowed you to be comfortable with your surroundings and lifestyle, and it's terrifying to think about that all changing so quickly. Recognize that fear, and know that it too will dissipate.

I hope that your college journey has been everything you wished for, and so much more. I hope you learned lessons that have taught you who you are, and the person you want to be in this world. I hope you go out in the world, successful and confident, but never forget the experiences and memories that unite us all into a singular Wolfpack. We are all capable, intelligent adults who are ready to go forge our own paths in a world that is ours for the taking.

Cover Image Credit: flickr.com

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To High School Seniors In Their Last Semester

Senior year moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
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Dammit, you made it. The final semester of your senior year. You’re at the top of the food chain of high school, and it feels so good. You’re probably praying this last semester flies by, that you get out of town as soon as possible.

At this point, you’re calling teachers by their first names, the entire staff knows you by name, and you’re walking around school standing tall, owning those hallways. You’re convinced you’re ready to leave and move on to the next chapter in your life.

You’ve already experienced your last football game, standing in the cold in the front row of the student section all season long, decked out in your school colors and cheering loud and proud. That is, until they lost, and you realized you will never have that experience again. Never again.

SEE ALSO: What I Wish I Knew As A Second-Semester High School Senior

You already had your last winter break. Preparing and celebrating the holidays with your family, ice skating and sledding with your best friends. Those quiet nights alone in your room watching Netflix, taking for granted your loved ones just a few rooms away. Never again.

If you’re an athlete, you may have already played in your last game or ran your last race. The crowd cheering, proudly wearing your school’s name across your chest, giving it your all. For some, it may be the end of your athletic career. Before you knew it, you were standing in an empty gym, staring up at the banners and thinking about the mark you left on your school, wondering where on earth the time went. Never again.

I’m telling you right now, you’re going to miss it all. Everything you’ve ever known. Those early mornings when you debate going to first hour because you really need those McDonald’s hash browns. The late nights driving home from practice, stopping for ice cream of course, ready for a late night of homework. Getting food on a whim with your friends. Endless fights with your siblings. Your favorite chips in the pantry. A fridge full of food. Coming home to and getting tackled by your dog. Driving around your hometown, passing the same sights you’ve seen every day for as long as you can remember. Hugs from your mom after a long day. Laughs with your dad. And that best friend of yours? You’re going to miss them more than anything. I’m telling you right now, nothing will ever be the same. Never again.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl That Enjoyed High School

Before you start packing your bags, slow down, take a deep breath, and look around. You’ve got it pretty good here. The end of your senior year can be the time of your life; it’s truly amazing. So go to the winter dance, go to Prom, spend Senior Skip Day with your classmates, go to every sporting event you can, while you still can. College is pretty great, but it’s the little things you’re gonna miss the most. Don’t take it for granted because soon, you’ll be standing in a packed gym in your cap and gown, wondering where the heck the time went. You’ve got a long, beautiful life ahead of you, full of joy but also full of challenges. You’re going to meet so many wonderful people, people who will treat you right and people who won’t.


So, take it all in. Be excited for the future and look forward to it, but be mindful of the present. You’ve got this.
Cover Image Credit: Hartford Courant

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Being Away From Home Teaches You The Harsh Realities Of Growing Up

Adjusting to being completely on my own and in an unfamiliar place was more taxing than I imagined, but also one of the most memorable experiences I have been through.

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The idea of going through an adjustment period never crossed my mind until I was in one. My mind glanced over the rather important factors that had a huge impact on how able I am to adjust. Of all factors, I did not know a single soul attending Rutgers, or anyone who had gone in the past. Unfamiliarity among peers was a very uncommon feeling for me, and it became extremely prominent during my first days away at college. Another factor is that everyone, no matter who you are, has to go through a period of adjusting when life changes so drastically. Not realizing this made me feel more alone than ever.

There were more days than not within my first weeks away from home that I felt I was in the wrong place. My optimistic mindset before attending college was completely shut down when I realized I was living at an unknown place far from home, and I had no one around me that I had known for more than a few days. It sent me into a panic, my mind was racing and consistently telling me to go home. But home was not home anymore. What I was searching for was familiarity, and the area is familiar, but home is not home without the people you love, and all the people I love were hours away, going through the same adjustment I was.

Home was ruled out. I was forced to stay at school and make the realization that I am attending Rutgers for a reason. There was a reason I toured the school and then committed the next day because I knew one day it would feel like home. These ideas seem clear to me now, but I struggled to form them for a while, as I was trying to balance my classes, living on my own and making relationships.

And this is growing up.

Realizing that there is not always an easy way out, perseverance through uneasy situations and being grounded in your truths is what will help during these adjustment periods that everyone will face at some point. I understood that home was not the same, I could not return there and be driving to my friends' houses or attending my high school. I had to keep moving even though I felt wildly unsure of my future at college, and I was grounded by the fact that I knew I loved this school, and that feeling of love would return once I settled in and gave myself the time to understand that life would be drastically different, but change was necessary for me to be the best version of myself. It is time for me to be who I am, and live life independently, making the right and wrong decisions as an adult and learning on my own.

Now I could not be happier in my situation. I am happiest when with my friends at college, living every day together and always having a laugh. The opportunities I have encountered are beyond what I could imagine and would be unavailable to me if I were home. Fear makes you want to run, being overwhelmed makes you want to run, but before running away, try to dig a bit deeper on the question of "Why are you here in the first place?"

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