Hauling in boxes, moving televisions and watching the excited freshmen flutter nervously around the residence halls as they settle into their new homes. Suddenly, three years ago seems like yesterday rather than the eternity I expected. I was always ready for the next step; always wishing the years of school away. I never listened to those who said it would fly by, but now I finally see.
It comes with a sense of nostalgia that rather than spending all day arranging a dorm room to make it just right, we are the ones covered in sweat just to show the newest residents a little kindness. We aren’t getting hounded by various student organizations to promote interest. Instead, we are the heads of those organizations. We aren’t beginning the newest chapter of our lives, but instead, we are composing the bittersweet ending. It is beautiful and terrible all at once.
Many of us have spent the past three years wishing time would go by even faster and for some, this year will be no exception. I will, however, slow down and enjoy all the beautiful things this final year has to offer. Senior year is so important because it is no longer a year of firsts; it is a year of lasts. I can only hope each of my classmates will join me as I strive to enjoy every single day of this final year. I want to get excited for the last first day of classes and stress over my last exams. I want to cry in my sisters’ arms during my last formal recruitment and jump up and down screaming, watching the future of Zeta Tau Alpha run out to us at my last bid day. I want to scrape my knees and bruise my arms while I fight for my last intramural championship. I want to spend hours un-tagging pictures from all the stupid,but hilarious things we do. I want to look awful from pulling too many all-nighters and I want to embarrass myself just a few more times.
Over the next few months, I challenge this senior class to create memories. Not the ones we claim we’ll have forever, but the ones we will actually tell our grandchildren. Whether it’s an awful roommate that you love anyway, the professor you hate until you realize how much he’s taught you, or the friends that push you to your breaking point simply because they know what you’re capable of, cherish it all.
Despite everything I have learned along the way, I have realized that we are just as unprepared as ever. As freshmen we thought we were ready for this whirlwind of emotion and experiences.High school was, after all, designed to prepare us for college. But much like the shock of freshman year, I can assure you our time in college has not fully equipped us for what the future holds. Embrace the end of this beautiful chapter of each of our lives. After this year we start over again in new cities, new careers and with new people surrounding us. Just like freshman year we’ll stumble and fall, but we will pick ourselves up and keep on moving. We will find our niche and fill our lives with meaningful people. Cherish this year as the breaking point, as the separation between everything we have done and everything we can be.