Grade Level: Fifth-Year Senior
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Grade Level: Fifth-Year Senior

It's not the time it takes to get somewhere, it's the direction you're going.

Graduating from college in the traditional four years isn't always a given. Whether it's due to switching schools or majors, constant curriculum changes, or completing prerequisites for graduate school, four years to graduation doesn't always seem doable. As a fifth-year senior, here are a few things you'll realize as you attempt to make it through that final stretch.

Everyone around you will seem like babies. Newsflash: They are babies. Every freshman around you was still in middle school when you were graduating high school. Don't allow yourself to feel old. I prefer the term "seasoned".

Don't get upset at the babies (aka freshman) turning the library into a social event. Remember, you once did the same thing. As a fifth-year senior, you'll find that getting your work done in cozy coffee shops is much more appropriate, and fun.

You might feel lonelier. As a fifth year, you'll do more things alone, like studying, eating, grocery shopping, and even working out. But this isn't necessarily a bad thing. When the day comes for you to move to a new city and start a new career, you'll already feel comfortable enough to dine by yourself or try out a new workout class alone. To be honest, the time alone I've had in my fifth year has given me more time to get in touch with myself. I've realized I needed this extra year to understand my passions and where they could take me next in the post-college chapter of my life.

Going out is different. When you do have time to go out, it will be a lot different than it was your first four years: Two-For-One weeknight specials at the bars will turn into a glass of red wine on the couch and bad reality TV. Your body will reject going out multiple nights in a row and you might be the oldest one at the campus bars. But this doesn't mean you can't have fun anymore, it just means it's time to mix it up. Find out which bars downtown are known for an older crowd of med students and young professionals and grace them with your presence.

Don't beat yourself up. Sure, some of your friends are living in cool places and working their new 9-5, but that doesn't automatically put them in a better place than you. I'm sure they get jealous that you still get winter breaks, Fridays off, and hot athletes in your group projects. Remember, time will pass, and you have the rest of your life to work. Enjoy where you are right now.

This extra time in school is happening for a reason. Maybe you need more time to understand where your career is going, more time to understand who you are, or more time to meet people who will make a difference in your life. Remember, it's not the time it takes to get somewhere, it's the direction you're going.

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All the Single (Senior) Ladies

Why you should consider underclassmen

As a single and horny upperclasswoman, it's easy to fall into the "woe is me" category as you make your way across campus through the throngs of fresh-out-of-high school boys that surround you. Just when you see some potential in that hot new guy in your econ class, you realize, "fuck, he's three years younger than me." And if you go to a small college of 3,500 students, like I do, it's already slim pickings. All the "good ones" are already taken by senior year, and at 21 years old I can't be caught making out with a freshman. I might as well join the celibacy club.

STOP AND TURN THAT ATTITUDE AROUND. By junior and senior year, you are literally QUEEN of the campus; why not take advantage of it? If you're just looking to fulfill your sexual needs, I highly recommend broadening your horizons. Some of my friends absolutely refuse to even think about a younger guy, and I say give it a chance! I've had my world (and bed) rocked by some guys that were younger than me.

Now I'm not saying to go out and hook up with any underclassman who attempts to slide in those DMs. (I didn't know that was actually a thing until five freshmen DM'd me last year... kids these days). If you do, that's cool too, but discretion and limits are advised.

You're older, more developed, and often times more experienced. You have so much power in these situations, and with great power comes great responsibility. You're basically the Spiderman of hookups. Getting a chance to hook up with you will be one of the highlights of their college careers. So if a younger guy really wants to make a move on you, it's easier for you to make them work for it.

Sure, the maturity level is often not there, which is to be expected. But realistically, most senior guys aren't too far ahead. The difference: underclassmen will do just about anything short of bowing at your feet. I received valentine's day and birthday presents from several freshmen last year that I had only talked to, not even hooked up with, purely because they were swooning from even just the slightest attention.

The trick is to milk it up, but also be wise about the amount of times you shut them down for "other plans". Because when you're at the top of the social totem pole, you get to call the shots (in bed) which is a major plus, but a few will catch on to any games (in my experience, most don't. Or just don't care, because it's you). Instead of feeling shitty about yourself afterwards like with some booty calls, they make you feel like the royalty you are. There are the occasional stage five clingers, who you need to drop immediately, but for the most part they are just eager to learn and satisfy an older woman.

I've also found there are far fewer dad bods at that age (the years of case races haven't caught up to them yet). I say if you find them attractive, what's the issue? You don't need to get cuffed to everyone you sleep with. You might break a few hearts along the way, but you're about to graduate soon. Why not have some fun, empowering sex in the time you have left.

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Nine Very Real Things You Realize After You Graduate

The good and the bad

You don't have to go back to school for the first time in 16 years.

I literally just thought to myself, I should buy these pair of boots because they'll be good to walk to class in the snow...

"Man, I'm old."

What are all these new dances people are doing? Why do I not know any of them? Who is Desiigner?

Student loans can no longer be put off.

No seriously. You need to pay those. Like actually. Login to FAFSA right now.

You don't get to sit in the student section anymore.

That also includes student discounts. And sitting with parents who use seat cushions.

Posting pictures of drinking and parties isn't "cute" anymore.

It's just trashy. Please stop.

Most of your college friendships were shallow and pointless.

All that time trying to befriend your lab partner or the cute guy on the football team have gotten you nowhere.

Greek life didn't matter THAT much.

All that time and money spent on social events, weekly meetings, and apparel doesn't seem to have helped in getting a job.

I might need to go to grad school.

Maybe I should go back to get the teaching degree after all . . .


Never again. This is by far the best thing about being done with school.

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    What I Wish I Knew Going Into Senior Year

    What do you mean college ends?

    For a few weeks, I was convinced I counted the years wrong. That contrary to what everyone was telling me, I couldn't be entering my senior year of college. How had the past three years gone by so blindingly fast and furious? Wasn't I just a freshman?

    I had so many more things I wanted to accomplish, classes I wanted to take (like "Women in Hip Hop"), friends I wanted to make, and activities to check off on my school's list of "161 Things to Do Before You Graduate." And, I was supposed to just accept that I had just two semesters left?

    On top of this denial, I felt out of place. I was coming back from my semester abroad in Prague, and that beautiful experience brought a bit of an existential crisis. What did I want to do after college? How was I spending my precious time? Where did I want to go? God, who am I?

    I had a lot to ponder.

    Thus, I embarked upon senior year as more than just a SWUG* (senior washed up girl), but as someone trying to redefine my motivations, purpose, and self.

    In a way, I wanted to start over, but I thought it was too late. I realized, though, that I had 25 percent of my college career left; and although I struggled in Introduction to Statistics, I was going to damn well try. It was difficult at first, but, ultimately, one of the best decisions I made in college.

    I think all seniors go through this stage of confusion, anxiety, and denial, just in varying degrees. Know that you're not alone, and consider these pieces of advice. Here is what I wish I knew going into my senior year of college.

    1. It's not too late to start anew.

    You can pursue classes that are totally outside of your major, but that you suddenly feel interested in. You can join a new club or start a new organization on campus. It's not too late.

    2. Make new friends and join new social circles.

    You are not defined by or confined to your Greek affiliation or GDI status. You can even befriend professors, deans, and graduate students.

    3. You shouldn't feel pressured to find a certain job by a certain time.

    Even if everyone around you is signing contracts in September or set on a certain graduate school, it doesn't mean that is the right move for you.

    4. Don't spend time doing things you don't want to be doing (if you can do otherwise).

    Don't go to a party just because everyone else is going if you don't want to go. Listen to your own desires.

    5. Choose your company wisely.

    Don't spend time with people who you don't like, cannot relate to, do not share similar values with, or simply don't want to be around. It's also OK to let go of people who do not positively impact your life.

    6. Be open with yourself and others.

    Be vulnerable and put yourself out there. Tell people if you are upset, tell a special someone that you love them, or admit the truth to someone you've hurt. This mantra, to be open and vulnerable, is the key to personal growth, but it is nerve-wracking. Do it now in the relatively safe college bubble.

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    9 Reasons You Should Teach Abroad After You Graduate

    Five years previous experience not needed!

    Second semester senior year is the definition of an emotional roller coaster. On the one hand, you're excited to FINALLY BE DONE with those countless exams and all nighters you've pulled to make it across that stage.

    It's a time to celebrate with your friends and slack off because you're *basically* done with your major and credits minus that one gen ed requirement you forgot to fulfill freshman year...

    But second semester also means applying to jobs for... you know... the REAL world. Where people expect you to actually have your shit together, and constantly judge you and your [lack of] qualifications in the form of rejection letters. And you almost guaranteed wont have the *luxury* of living/partying with your friends everyday.

    The real world can be a dark and scary place... but I've found it doesn't have to be thanks to my last-minute decision to drop my job pursuit in the US and teach English for a year in Spain! Here are a few reasons you should consider teaching abroad after you graduate:

    1. You don't have to know what you want to do with your life.
    No way in hell do I actually want to be a teacher. But you know what, I don't really know WHAT I want to do. This extra time allows me to avoid funneling myself into a career I'll most likely hate because I'm 23 and don't know what I want to do for the rest of my life lol.

    2. It's a small time commitment.
    Alright, so one-two years might SEEM like forever given how long that two hour seminar felt like, but it's really not.

    3. You get to travel.
    By far one of the biggest perks. I feel like such a bougie betch some days when I upload photos to my Instagram from my trips all over Europe. Trust me, I'm not making a ton of money- it's just THAT cheap to travel here.

    mornings done right with my man Ben!!!

    A post shared by Taylor Swift (@tayraeswift) on

    4. It's not a desk job.
    I repeat- it's NOT a desk job.

    5. No more rejection letters.
    No matter what your major or experience level, countries around the world are vying to learn English from, you guessed it, native English speakers! [YOU GOT THIS ONE!]

    6. You get to learn a new culture.
    I never thought I'd live in SPAIN after graduation- it's truly an incredible place and I love the culture. I no longer feel like I'm "behind" and "wasting my time" as I did in the US, where it's drilled into our heads we have to be doing something career-oriented straight out of college. People prioritize happiness at all ages here.

    7. You can meet people from around the world.
    Meeting people from around the US is one thing, meeting people from around the WORLD is a whole other one. Which means more traveling opportunities too!

    8. You're not living in your parent's basement.
    If you want to live at home, that's great! But the three months I lived at home the summer after graduation were two and a half months too long. Talk about restricted freedoms.

    9. You actually make a difference.
    I think the worst part about most entry-levels is having to swallow your pride and do other people's bitch work. At my job, I'm leading lessons and working with teachers and kids who are super appreciative of me being there. If you don't like kids, this obviously isn't for you, but I'm pretty lucky that every day with my job is a truly a new [and rewarding] adventure!

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    What it's Like to be Single in Your Last Year of College

    Who am I going to take graduation pictures with?

    Okay, so you're a senior now. You know the best bars in town. You know which restaurants to avoid. You know which frats throw the best parties. And you probably perfected a hangover remedy.

    You just have to finish one more year of school. But, there's one thing you forgot about. You are single as hell!

    The first few weeks usually aren't too bad. You meet up with your roommates. You catch up with your buddies from the past years. You tell yourself that a relationship isn't needed.

    I mean, relationships are stressful and time consuming anyway. You are a freakin senior, you don't need any more pressure right now.

    But then it gets chilly out, you've already seen every single movie on Netflix, and those weekends start to drag. And that's when you start to doubt your ability to be single.

    It's only been a month, but you're in full desperation mode. You might send a risky text to an ex, who definitely isn't in a relationship right now, right? Wrong! Their Facebook always shows you much more than you need to know.

    So, plan b comes into play. You now start to do what every single college student does: you download Tinder, then look away in disgust as the app installs.

    You end up swiping right for about 30 minutes straight. You get one or two matches then celebrate. However, you meet up with your matches and find yourself regretting ever telling them your real name.

    Seeing all your cuffed up friends doesn't help. You feel genuinely happy for your friends but you always thought you'd be the one to be in a relationship first. Now, they basically are married to somebody.

    Your friends always seem to notice when you're feeling lonely too. They say cliche lines like, "I wish I was single sometimes too" or "Just try to focus on you for now." Then they say their favorite line, "There's somebody out there for you, you just gotta put yourself out there".

    If you had a dollar for every time you heard that line, you'd be able to drop out and build your own damn college. Just thinking about how single you are sometimes makes you sad and makes you feel like you are going to be alone for eternity.

    You start to question life. You start to question everything about yourself. You start saying things like, "Am I ugly?" or "Maybe I should change my style up". But do not let these thoughts overwhelm you.

    Focus on your life and take advantage of your college experience. Those four years fly and you always have to make the best of all four of them. So, go to that movie theater by yourself. Go to that local diner for a meal. Enjoy your life. Nobody can complete you like you. You never know, your soulmate might be at that diner too!