Senior Year Scaries: The Final Summer Vacation
College Life |  Source: N. Leeper, Shutterstock

Senior Year Scaries: The Final Summer Vacation

How to make the most of your final summer... before adulthood hits.

Congrats! You made it through the seemingly endless amount of work that junior year of college happily bestows on all of its attendees.

It was probably one of my hardest years of college academically, but I am proud to say that I made it out alive. After all the end-of-finals-week celebrations, I happily packed up my things and mentally prepared for a summer by the beach, with no plans bigger than what swimsuit I was going to sport for the next four months.

Ah... the joys of long college summer vacations.

About halfway through my packing, however, I came to the frightening realization that this summer vacation will be my last. For the past 16 years, all of us have been lucky enough to have a three to four month break between responsibilities to sleep-in, go to the beach, and stay out late whenever we want. Unfortunately, in a year from now, this luxury will be taken away forever, leaving us in the real world lost and confused.

Here are some tips on making the most of this final summer and getting over the scaries of senior year:

1. Work a job you actually like.
There's nothing worse than spending half of your summer at a dead-beat job that you hate going to every day. Yes, some of these jobs may make you a lot of money, but the reality is that you probably won't be working there in a year.

Use this last summer of freedom as an opportunity to work that part-time job that inspires you or is just plain fun to be at. It's probably one of the last lowkey jobs you will have; adulthood is coming.

2. Make time for all of your friends, even if this means traveling to see them.
Odds are, you will not be seeing most of the people from your college post-graduation. This is the last time you can do crazy stuff with them, without the constraints of a 9-5p.m. job. You have the time now, use it wisely!

3. With that said, get up before noon once in a while!
Yeah, I know it feels good to sleep in everyday, but honestly, that's just going to take away from the free time that summer vacations give you. Pick at least two days a week to go hiking early, take a trip into the city, or just enjoy a morning cup of coffee for the pure bliss of it.

You'll thank me later.

4. Get in that exercise routine you've been thinking about.
If you've been at it for a while, a routine will be much easier to maintain once your schedule fills up.

5. Visit your family.
Next year at this time, you could be relocating to a whole new state or country for a job that you thought you could only dream of having. Make use of this free time to travel and see those who have supported you throughout all these years of school.

6. Spend your money on experiences.
Concerts, road trips, food tours - anything you want. Just do something that gives you more value than buying a cute outfit for an overflow of insta-likes. Again, you will thank me later.

Finally, gear up for one of the best years of your college experience. I've heard its pretty rad.


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College Life |  Source: L. Smith, Disney Wiki

The Summer Before Senior Year As Told by Your Favorite Disney Characters

Because they sure know how to tell a story.

1. When you want to relax before the most stressful year of your life, but you have to work so you can pay your living expenses.

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2. ...And you have to do schoolwork OVER THE SUMMER.

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3. If you plan on going to grad school, then you have to start applying, taking tests, etc...

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4. When you realize that you'll be done with college in a year.

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5. When you think you have to work hard this summer, but you realize that next summer you're going to have to work a full-time, adult job.

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6. When you frantically try to figure out how you're going to make the best of your senior year.

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7. When you motivate yourself to not procrastinate this year.

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8. And you also motivate yourself to get straight A's (or as close as you possibly can).

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9. When you realize that soon you'll be making a nice, full-time paycheck...

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10. But most of that money is going to go toward rent, food, gas, etc.

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11. And let's not forget paying back those student loans!

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12. When you realize that soon you're going to have to deal with things like health insurance, life insurance...

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13. And TAXES?

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14. But you also realize that after this year you won't have to do homework...

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15. Or take another test!

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16. Unless you're going to grad school of course...

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17. But you remember that whatever happens, your senior year is going to be a great one!

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18. And you'll be done with college in a year.

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College Life | 

The Evolution of Drinking

...from freshman to senior year.

What's college without a little alcohol now and then? Over the span of four (or so) years, drinking habits change just as much as we do. Below, a short gif chronology.

Freshmen

The typical freshman drinker probably didn't do much of it in high school. They come to college maybe never even having a sip. Drinking is usually done in unfinished basements of that one friend from Ochem. The first of getting a "minor consumption" is a real and imminent threat. Some of your friends might be brave enough to get a fake I.D.

Sophomores

The novelty has worn off and an overconfident sophomore has taken its place. It is the year of underage purgatory. You're so close to 21, you can almost taste it. (Literally. You can taste the countless, legally-ordered, risk-free g&ts at the bar. But I digress.) Sophomore year is the year of the frathouse. The consumption of alcohol is usually provided in a shot glass, or a used solo cup, given away by an overly generous frat bro. Don't forget those trendy X's in Sharpie on your hands that won't come off for a week.

Juniors

This is usually the year of turning 21, unless you're a genius. Something happens this year. It's like we completely forgot how to drink all over again. If you pay for any of your drinks on your birthday, you are doing something wrong. The bars are the greatest thing to ever happen. How did we ever go to parties? Bars are so much better.

Senior

Year four, and the drinking has finally slowed down. The preferred method usually involves a glass (or two, let's be real) of wine and Netflix. On the rare night of heavy drinking, the next morning is followed by "Oh god I'm so old" and "I can't drink like I use to". The bars become the worst place on campus. They take all your money and good judgement.

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College Life | 

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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College Life |  Source: @chanelpluscat

You Know You're A Senior When

7 moments that every senior experiences.

You're not sure how it happened. All of a sudden you find yourself facing the final year of school. Senior year. It's all coming to a close, and before you know what's happening, it will all be over. Senior year is unique, and if you're a senior, you may recognize a few of these.

1. You're on a first name basis with most of your professors.
You probably have had multiple classes with them before, and probably even know a little bit about their families. They're not Professor Johnson or Dr. McCoy. Instead, they're Margaret and Dale.

2. You're a pro at getting homework done at the last minute.
Got a four-page paper due tomorrow morning at 10 AM? No biggie. Have you started studying for the test in two days? No, but it'll happen one way or another. And you can pull it off with little to no stress.

3. Homework is just a fact of life.
You don't freak out when you have an essay due the next day because you are confident that you will get it done. A load of assignments that you may have freaked out over a few years prior aren't a big deal any more.

4. You have perfected your study style.
Flash cards or study guides? Either way, you have mastered your study rituals. Whether it's chewing a special kind of gum, using a special pen, going to a specific place, or using colored paper, the past three years have allowed you to master your method and now it's become second nature.

5. All the freshman look like middle-schoolers.
Wait. Did I just see a herd of 15-year-olds walk by or is that the freshman class? You have a hard time accepting the fact that you really were that young when you first came here. You have an even harder time accepting the fact that you are now one of the older students that you used to look up to and think, "Man, they have their act together."

6. You worry that you haven't done enough.
You see other seniors who have had six internships and have studied abroad three times. You know that there have to be more people like them who are more qualified than you. They are bound to land a job three weeks after graduation and you don't know how to compete against them when it comes to the job market.

You have to remind yourself to calm down, to remember that you've done everything you can. You've done everything you can to the best of your ability even if that doesn't perfectly match someone else's experience.

7. You have the terrifying realization that some day you won't be in college any more.
One day, you will leave this magical hell-hole. Before long, you'll move away and find a job. You'll still visit for alumni weekend, but it just isn't the same. Even if you are happy that those four years are over, there will be a special place in your heart for your campus.

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College Life |  Source: AL.com (edited)

Thoughts You Have Your Senior Year

Ugh, freshman.

Being a senior in college is a big step for many people. It shows that you are a hard worker and that you have goals. But, let's be honest. Finishing your last year of college is a struggle in itself. You have a lot to get done and even more to deal with. So just to give you a heads up, here are a few thoughts that you may have in your senior year.

Why are freshmen so weird?
Yes, you will look down on freshmen like the seniors looked down on you when you awkwardly arrived on campus. It is the circle of life. It is a natural process that everyone goes through. And if you are a senior who never looked down on freshmen, then you must be one in a million.

This campus food sucks.
Yes, even juniors can relate to this one. Giving campus food to seniors is like giving pennies to a billionaire. It will most likely go straight into the trashcan (unless you're starving).

I have no idea what it is, but once you finish your sophomore year. It is never the same, all the on campus food just ends up tasting like cardboard for the next two years.

I'll be single forever.
Now, whether it's you yourself or someone you know. Being a single senior is not the end of the world. You will be OK. You just have to watch Netflix by yourself, sleep by yourself, eat by yourself, and graduate by yourself. Nothing wrong with that, right? lol

Also, you have more time to date. Graduating college does not mean your love life is over. Just chill.

I should have been more involved on campus.
This is true for most of us. A lot of seniors wished that they were involved on campus a little bit more. They wished that they joined a few clubs, networked a little bit more, put more time into studying , etc.

However, this is not true for all seniors. Some people just want to graduate, leave campus , and never look back.

I just want to graduate.
This is hands-down the most said statement by all types of seniors. Graduating means you are done with the early classes. It means you have no more assignments due and most importantly it means you get to be an adult now.

So go out and enjoy that last year. You earned that degree, you senior!