Senior year:I still have to get used to going back to school

As A Senior In College, There Is Still An Adjustment Period

Just because I know my way around doesn't mean it's all glitter and rainbows.

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Three measly years ago, I came to Charlottesville knowing no one and being more than slightly terrified. I now know people, and I can find my way around grounds and a good portion of the city.

However, the beginning of the new school year has still brought about some anxieties. Some of these anxieties are fourth-year specific while others can affect anyone and everyone.

Firstly, coming back to Charlottesville and being met by the plethora of people between the ages of 18 and 22 is always a startling adjustment. Especially evident at larger schools, this is the only time in our lives where we are almost constantly surrounded by people the same age as us. While that can be cool in a lot of ways, it's also overwhelming. Being in the center of a college town, the monotony of stress and hormones that comes with being college-aged isn't dampened by any other age range, leaving us to run rampant and suffocate other valuable life perspectives.

The competitive environment is also something that takes some time to get used to. Particularly evident fourth year, people are always taking charge of their lives and propelling their careers forward even before earning their degrees. The mixture of drive and anxiety is palpable and I easily find myself stressed out over things that are far in the future. Learning that each of us is on our own paths to success is something that is crucial to accept, and the sooner you do it, the better.

By now I have my friend group here at school; however, even those dynamics take time to reform and adjust to the new school year. Between different schedules and new living arrangements, it takes time to figure out when people can hang out and which friends you'll inevitably be around more than others. This can be stressful both in scheduling and also emotionally as you want to hang out with everyone, but sometimes your schedule just doesn't allow it as much as you'd like.

A new semester comes with a new schedule. Adjusting to odd time gaps and finding the best walking routes takes a week or two to settle, and locking down set times for studying and extracurriculars can take even longer.

While there's something refreshing about starting new classes, it can also be a source of anxiety. Between the inevitable major classes that have horrid reviews on Course Forum and the non-major classes that make you step out of your comfort zone, you'll be starting 4-5 new courses that will require you to use your brain in a way that you probably didn't over the summer.

On top of all that, seniors get the added anxieties of life after the school year ends. Some students know what lies ahead, but a lot still don't. No matter if you know or you don't, there will be the constant question of "What are you doing after graduation?" that you'll have to get used to. Whether literal or sarcastic, it's time to prepare our answers.

At the end of the day, no matter if it's your first year of college or your last, the beginning of the year is never 100% smooth. Schedules are off-kilter, emotions are running high, and life is simply changing. Eventually, this will become the new normal... but, for now, allow yourself the few weeks it takes to become settled. A new school year worth of memories is awaiting you.


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Saying Goodbye To Freshman Year

"High School goes by fast, but college goes by even faster."
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“High School goes by fast, but college goes by even faster”, we’ve all heard it and probably all ignored it as well. I mean time is time. It moves at the same pace no matter what you’re doing right?

Nope.

High School is over, I’m now a freshman in college and it’s April. I’m sitting here in my dorm looking at all my clothes, and bins thinking, how in the hell will this all fit in my car again? It is crazy, I need to be thinking about all of this now because there is one month of my freshman year left, just one.

All I can keep thinking is how? Wasn’t it just last week that I moved into my cozy room at the end of the hall, or just yesterday that I ran home to two hundred beautiful new sisters? As much as it seems like yesterday, it wasn’t.

It was almost eight months ago that I stepped onto this campus as a freshman, now it is my last four weeks and they are jam-packed. From formal to finals I am in the home stretch of my first year of college. I just registered for my classes next semester, and can’t get it through my head that I will soon be a sophomore.

While walking around campus I still catch myself thinking, wow I am really here. I am a college student, at a school, I fall more in love with every day. So, how can I be a sophomore now when I feel like I just got here?

Yes, I still have three amazing years of college ahead of me, and I can’t wait to see what those years have in store in for me. But, I just can’t help but feel a little sad that I won’t be a freshman anymore. I won’t be the youngest in my sorority family, I won’t be coming back to a dorm every night.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am stoked to live in an apartment next year with my absolute best friends. And you definitely could have heard me saying “I am so over this whole dorm thing” once or twice this semester, but now I can’t help but see all the things I’ll miss.

Freshman year is just unique. You get this giant clean slate, a fresh start. And it is just waiting to see what you’ll do with it. It truly is a year of firsts. My first failure, the first time being on my own, my first time not knowing anyone in my classes. Yes, that can all be a lot to take on, I was terrified at the start of the school year. But before I knew it, I had a routine, I had friends, I had a life here.

And this life surpassed all my expectations. I have a home away from home. I have friends that I know will be my bridesmaids some day. I have experiences that I’ll never forget.

Now as I head back home for the summer I couldn’t be more excited to be with my friends there and my family. But, I also couldn’t be sadder to leave my friends here, even if it’s only for three months because they’ve become another kind of family.

Despite leaving freshman year behind, we have so many more memories to make whether it’s doing the Seminole chop in Doak, coordinating our Halloween costumes, or just chilling at the house. We’ve all come so far this year, and I can’t wait to see just how far we go. So bring it on Sophomore year, I’m ready for ya.

Cover Image Credit: Cameron Kira

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Your Feelings Are Not Invalid, It's OK To Not Be OK

I know that life can get really hard, but I promise it'll be okay.

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Recently, I have had an extremely hard time with my level of happiness that I have in my life. I go through my days feeling overly exhausted by the drama and hardship around me. I have gone through the past few weeks really struggling with this stint of depression and anxiety that I have been fighting with through the course of my life. These past few weeks, I have had large issues with this feeling of not being good enough and feeling like the world around me is falling apart because of stress and drama and self-image issues happening around me. I was at a point where I found myself not being able to have a positive thought in my mind and it was feeling like the whole world was against me.

I hate feeling like this. I feel like my world is crashing down and I truly just want to feel better. I have come to the conclusion in my life that the world I find myself living in makes us feel like if you feel depressed or upset, you have an issue and you are not alright. Numerous times I have been told that I need to get over it or that my issues are just "first world issues" that do not matter. This has shown me that there is communication in our world that is not being discussed. Depression has become this thing that society looks at so commonly and we have become accustomed to the idea of people around us being depressed that it makes us numb to it. This has made people think of depression as something not as horrible as it truly is because "everyone" has it. Depression is something that is extremely detrimental to the person being affected by it.

My journey with depression and anxiety started at a young age. I would have anxiety attacks at random times because of untold issues that I was having with my father or issues with bullying. From that young age, I learned very quickly to put up an act when I was around people because I didn't want them to tell me that I needed to get over it or tell me that it was not an actual issue and I was just being dramatic. I kept my mouth shut and pretended that this black mass wasn't engulfing me into is and pulling me deeper and deeper into this whole that was full of self-deprecating thoughts and images. People in school with me and that went dancing with me couldn't tell at all. They thought that I was this nice, happy little girl and honestly, I couldn't be mean to anyone else because all of my efforts were being put into being mean to myself. But, as I said, I couldn't express this to anyone because I felt like this issue I was having was one that I shouldn't be having and that there was something wrong with me for feeling this way.

Here's the thing: it has taken me so long to realize it, but I have come to understand that it is okay not to be okay.

Going through my life with this overall and underlying sadness and self-image trouble does prevent me from doing some things, but it does not mean that I need to stop doing what I am. I do have this issue but it is alright for me to talk about it and there is nothing wrong with me for feeling the way I do because at this point in my life and in history, there are a lot of things I have to deal with that are not the greatest mentally. Understanding the issue and talking about it is the only way to improve my metal standing, however, and I feel like this right to talk about it should not feel like it is too taboo to actually have conversations about. The world around us though needs to listen and stop blowing off these issues like they are not important. I have experienced many times this idea of someone telling me that I complain too much after I talk to them about the struggles I have in my life and I am sick and tired of feeling as though my problems do not matter. Big or small, people react to hardships differently and this needs to be something that the world understands and listens to.

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