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An Open Letter to a College Senior

Dear ______________,

I’m sure you’re as scared of graduating as I once was. You entered this place that seemed uncomfortable at first, but soon enough you found yourself on a beautiful campus, a place I still look back on and think of as a second home. You met your best friends there as you struggled adjusting to freshman year. You spoke about that boy from home in your tiny dorm room, and a wall that was filled with pictures of people you missed from a place that felt far away.

In the years that followed, the people in those pictures began to play less and less of an important role in your life. Without you realizing it was happening, the people you ate with every day became your new family. Maybe you met them rushing a sorority during Greek Week. Maybe they were your best friends in your major, the ones you spent countless hours with studying for tests and learning information you don’t remember anymore. Maybe you met them at a frat party or maybe they are your teammates in whatever sport you continued to play after high school.

Whoever consumes your college experience – when you look back, you’ll see their faces. You’ll find your bridesmaids in college. Maybe you will have even found your husband. College is the best four years of your life, and you don’t see it now. You see the four papers you have due in three days and the fact that you have no meal money. And you think that’s stressful. Never again will you spend $20 going out and be mad at yourself for it in the morning. Never again will you and all your friends be in the same place at the same time, sharing the same feelings.

If I could give you a little bit of advice, as someone who graduated a year ago, it wouldn’t be to fix your resume or get more internships. While all of those things are important, the advice I am giving you now is to enjoy the last year you have. Enjoy the time with your friends. Go out on a Wednesday, even if you have a test 8:30am on Thursday. Your life will figure itself out and your crippling fear of the unknown is totally normal. Take a deep breath and keep working hard and keep doing what you have to do – but don’t let it consume you. Make the last year of college one to remember. Go out with a bang.

One day you will be sitting in your office and you’ll look out at the window and you’ll think back to a time when your dreams were only dreams. You’ll think about those people who believed in you and supported you. You’ll think about college and your memories will be filled with the faces of the people who helped you make those memories.

One day, you’ll meet up with your college friends and you’ll sit on the couch drinking as you talk about the past and the glory days of college. You’ll laugh how the most stressful aspect of your day was making it to class at 10am because now you have a 6am bus to catch. You’ll look in the eyes of these people who defined four years of your life and you’ll be grateful for them. Every mistake you made along the way, every chance you took at discovering yourself – these people were there for you and they continue to be there.

So, for now, enjoy every little moment. Enjoy the walks you complain about across campus, enjoy the shitty food in the cafeteria, enjoy the sorority meetings you complain about, and enjoy stressing over that test because one day college will end. Enjoy everything and thank the people who are a part of it. The memories you’re making right now will be the one’s you look back on with a smile.

Work never ends, but college does. Enjoy it while you can.

Sincerely,

A Member of the Real World

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