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This just in: senior year is hard

By the title, I’m sure you’re thinking, “Well, duh, Ames. It’s college.”

However, I’m no stranger to college being hard — though that’s mostly because I tend to join too many things, and I’m no stranger to writing about that, either. 

No, I came into senior year thinking it would be easy. I’m only taking two “real” classes, and the rest of my academic schedule is filled with thesis hours, ice skating and marching band — I have four homework assignments due each week, if that. Not bad at all, credits-wise.

Plus, there’s that whole idea of “senioritis.” If every senior I knew during my underclassman years could experience a case of it and still graduate just fine, surely senior year couldn’t be the hardest one of my years at Miami. And yet, it is.

The problem with senior year is not that the classes are any harder than they have been in the past. The problem with senior year is not my inability to say no to any organization or club finally catching up with me.

The problem with senior year is that I can no longer enjoy the cushy college student life. Suddenly, I’m having to prepare myself for adulthood — real adulthood — and, to put it simply, I am drowning.

There are grad school applications, which are really the meat of it. I honestly don’t remember undergrad applications being this difficult — and I applied to fifteen colleges before finding my home as a RedHawk. Between writing two or three mini-essays per university (plus some for scholarship applications), begging professors for letters of recommendation and updating my résumé, I easily spend a few hours each day just working on a singular application.

What’s scary about all that is that it may come to nothing. Graduate schools are notoriously tough to get into, no matter how much you want to pursue a graduate education. Worse, I’m applying to some of the country’s top universities — and some even outside the USA — so my chances of getting in are slim anyway.

And yet, I beat on. I want it, so I have to try, no matter how tired I may be after a long night of essay writing. 

Of course, with the possibility of not making it into grad school looming on the horizon, I should also apply for real jobs. But that is even more terrifying. 

Like most other college seniors, I have been surrounded by academia since I was six years old — and, technically, longer than that, seeing as my mother is a college professor.

As much as I may complain about school, I love it. I can’t imagine living in a non-academic world, which is part of why I hope to someday become a college professor myself. All I have ever wanted is to learn, as I’ve written in about six different drafts of graduate school applications just in the past week.

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So I dread going to job fairs and filling out job applications for things I don’t want to do as much as I want to continue my education from a higher purview. 

It’s hard. All of it is hard.

Part of this is an Opinion article for The Miami Student, yes. But something I have always loved about the Opinion section is that it gives writers an outlet for their feelings — for their opinions. Just writing this all down is making me feel better already. 

I’m still stressed. I’m still struggling. But I know I can do it — push through and succeed.

For all of the seniors out there who may feel as though they’re floundering through their final year at Miami, or at any college, I want you to know you’re not alone.

We are all having our own troubles. Because of this, we must lean on each other and form a support network of friends, peers and future “real” adults. If we do this, we will learn and grow together. We will cry together, and we will laugh together. 

And we will live together. We will survive together. We will graduate together, and move on to new things together.

Someday, all of this stress will just seem like ancient history, because that’s all it’ll be. But for now, we have to fight through it, and know we’ll be just fine.

If you or someone you know is struggling or overwhelmed, please reach out to Student Counseling Services and get the help you need and deserve.