Saying Goodbye To Winter Break: Senior Year Edition

Saying Goodbye To Winter Break: Senior Year Edition

It's down to the wire as the last true break of undergrad draws to a close.

Saying goodbye to your hometown, friends, and family as winter break draws to a close is never fun. There's always someone you don't want to leave, or someone you didn't get to see, or a hometown haunt there wasn't time to go back to. But as you begin the spring semester of your senior year of college. it's different. Not only is the last semester of undergrad terrifying in a hundred ways, you may or may not be moving back after graduation. The pressure to make it the best visit ever is intense, and near-impossible to live up to.

1. Hug The People Who Matter

Especially if you know not everyone will be able to make it to graduation, you need to make time for the people you love. Not every friend or cousin or grandparent will be able to see you before you move to wherever your new life is starting, and between student loan payments and rent it could be a while before you make it home again. Hug them all tight before you head off into a new beginning. If there's anything 2016 has taught us, it's that tomorrow isn't promised to anyone.

2. Go To Your Favorite Hometown Restaurant At Least Once

There is nowhere better to get boss queso than Vallartas in Pensacola, Florida. Vallartas has incredible food (and margaritas!) and is a gem of awesome atmosphere and service that's one of my favorite places to go when I'm home. Your hometown likely has such a place, a hole-in-the-wall that has food like no other. Make sure to go, so you'll have something to dream about in the haze of Ramen that lies ahead.

3. Spend Time With The Small Fries

If there are kids in your life who are important to you, you've likely realized by now how quickly they grow while you're off at school. If you think a semester away is bad, you won't be prepared for how much damage a year can do. Find time to sit with the kiddos, explain what you can to them, and find ways to stay in contact while you're gone. It will help you both.

4. Bring What You Can

You may look like a pack-rat dragging everything back to the dorm, but it's worth it to have the blanket your grandma made for you or the teddy bear you got when you were 2 to snuggle when the perfect job doesn't come along right away and you're crying into your ice cream. Don't go crazy, but make sure the most important things come with you.

5. Don't Be Afraid Of Goodbye

You're starting a new chapter, and terror is normal. Be afraid, but don't let it hold you back. Your hometown is great in all its own ways, but new places and faces will shape your life now and that's good! Take a breath, take a step, and don't be shy about letting go.

6. Remember It's Still Okay To Cry

Whether it's saying goodbye to your baby sister that cracks the dam or just realizing it's the last time you'll see your street sign for a while, crying is normal. Life is full of messy goodbyes that hurt like hell and it's healthy to let yourself feel that pain. You will get through it, but tears will probably come first.

Take a deep breath, Spring Seniors, we're almost there!

Cover Image Credit: Pavel P.

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it


Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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To The High School Senior Nearing The End Of This Chapter, Feel Free To Look Back

Trust me, you're going to want to.


Right now you can't wait to leave. You can't wait for that fresh start, new friends, independence… the list is never-ending. But coming from someone two years removed from high school, please take it all in. Take in those last goofy times in class. All those fun car rides in the middle of the night with your friends where you laugh so hard you cry. Spending all day long with the friends you've known your whole life… remember how it feels in your heart. Enjoy graduation and take lots of pictures. Remember to always remain in the moment during all of these events. Don't let anything ruin it for you. That carefree feeling you have right now and will continue to have this summer will pass whether you believe it or not. Adulthood crawls in quicker than you think…

You will be left with the memories of what was, never to see or speak to so many people you once genuinely had so much fun with. High school is such a unique experience and I believe many of us take it granted because it is a necessity. We look at it as a chore because of mundane things like it being boring and having to wake up so early. In the moment we fail to see how fun it actually was. It is often only afterward that we realize just what we really had in those 4 years. Admittedly, I never thought I missed much of anything about high school, and I especially never thought I would. But here I am, two years later and I'm just realizing how easy I had it. High school was hard, but when I say the real world is harder, please take my words to heart. I am a firm believer that high school, in general, is a massive bubble.

Not to say that the bubble is bad. But the bubble will break, and it's more jarring to some than others. So don't let it impact you in a negative way, be prepared for its impact and conquer it! My point is, know that high school is not supposed to be the best four years of your life, but it is a time of your life where most people have the least worries, and that is something you can't get back. Worries and stress are subjective, so of course, we all thought our lives were over multiple times in high school, but we shortly realized that was not the case.

Your last teenage years should be taken in stride. Don't wish them away for older age, enjoy them. You'll never get them back, so you might as well stay in the moment.

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