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Junior perspectives on embracing the final stretch of college

As I sit and reflect on my college journey so far, I can't help but feel a wave of nostalgia mixed with a tinge of anxiety about what lies beyond graduation. It's a familiar feeling for many of us as we realize we’re nearing our last year of college, isn't it? We're bombarded with questions about our future plans, pressured to secure internships and obsessed with maintaining “perfect” grades. 

But amidst all this chaos, I've come to the realization that nothing is really that deep in college.

Sure, grades are important to some extent. They measure our academic performance and can open doors to opportunities post-graduation. But let's be real. Will that one B- on your transcript determine your entire future? At the end of the day, employers care more about the skills and experiences you've gained outside the classroom than your GPA.

As I’ve navigated through my college years, I've come to understand that it's the experiences we accumulate along the way that truly shape us. It's the connections we make with friends, classmates and professors, in addition to extracurricular activities, that leave a lasting impact on our lives. 

We live in a society that often glorifies achievement and success, equating them solely with grades. But what about personal growth? What about self-discovery? What about the invaluable life lessons learned through trial and error?

In high school, I was one of those students who stressed over every percentage point, equating my worth and intelligence with my GPA. But as I approach the end of my college journey, I realize how misguided that mindset was. 

College is about so much more than just grades. Above forming those valuable connections, it’s about exploring new interests and discovering what truly ignites your passion. These also prepare you to step out into the real world with an idea of what you want to do post-grad. 

In other words, I’ve found it’s worth it to trim back on the time I spent locked in the library studying and instead using that time to attend extracurricular events or just spend time with my friends. 

For instance, I had an important exam scheduled the day after the recent eclipse. Instead of devoting excessive hours to studying for what I anticipated would be a relatively straightforward test, I prioritized spending time outside with my friends watching the sky. Moments like these don’t come back around and are irreplaceable, so it’s important to seize them when they arise. 

As we enter the final weeks of the semester, I challenge you to make a conscious effort to shift your focus away from the relentless pursuit of success and towards the pursuit of happiness. I know, but corny as it sounds, take the time to enjoy the little moments – whether it's grabbing coffee with a friend, exploring a new hobby or simply taking a walk on campus on the next sunny day.

We need to remind ourselves that it's okay to not have everything figured out. Instead of obsessing over our future plans, embrace the uncertainty and allow ourselves to explore different paths. 

In the end, it’s not about the grades we’ve earned or the titles we’ve achieved, but the moments that have shaped us into the people we are today. And I can tell you right now, you’re not going to get those experiences sitting in the basement of King Library every day.

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Halle Grant is a junior majoring in strategic communication with minors in marketing and journalism. She has been writing columns for The Student for three years and also teaches spinning classes at the recreation center.