College student advice

Emily Sesko is a recent graduate of Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, where she completed a Bachelor’s in Art History with a minor in Classical Tradition. She currently lives and works in New York City. See more by Emily at her blog, “The Graduate’s Guide to the Galaxy” (yourguidetothegalaxy.wordpress.com).

“The Downswing of Senior Spring”

When I was a junior, everyone said that senior spring was the peak. You’re done with all your credits, you’re taking three classes, you have no homework, you sleep until noon every day, you day drink with your friends on the front lawn of the frat by two in the afternoon and coast on into the Wednesday night party effortlessly.
I don’t know if there was some hallucinogenic vortex that sucked in all of my friends between the time I was a junior and my senior spring, if I was too lame for all that, or if they just flat-out lied to me.
Let me throw it back to basics a little bit: my personal case of senioritis set in about midway through my junior fall, and I rode that train all the way to home base. What I wasn’t prepared for was this bizarre, emotional whirlwind that took place during the second semester of my senior year, when I became not only paranoid of becoming that person who haunts their parents’ basement well into middle-age, but record-breakingly lazy, uninspired, complacent, and, probably the most annoying of all (mostly for me, but probably for everyone else, namely my former roommate) weepy.
I only had classes two days a week (true) and I had Fridays completely off (also totally true) and on Mondays and Wednesdays I had an internship where I had a massive, burgeoning, overwhelmingly unrealistic but nevertheless entertaining crush on my immediate supervisor, who insisted upon being referred to as my coworker instead of my boss (true). One might say I had the world on a string.
But there was still the feeling of just going through the motions. I went to the parties, I posed for the pictures, I did all the dumb, cliché stuff you have to do when you’re about to graduate college. I acted really chipper and hopeful and starry-eyed when I only had a potential lead on a job in New York City, and that transitioned into a theatrically ecstatic announcement when it became an actual job in New York City.
The truth is, in my opinion, and in my experience, senior spring was not this merry old adventure of drinking and dancing and sleeping and eating burritos that I had been led to believe. It was not a brilliant departure from the Kansas of junior year to a fascinating Technicolor Oz of second-semester-seniordom. It was horrifying. There was a lot of panicking and realizing that, for example, I only had a tenuous understanding of how to write a check. I didn’t know what to do if I randomly got violently ill, because even though I lived on campus all four years of college, I went to school three miles away from my parents’ house, and could be extracted easily in case of illness. I had never budgeted. I had never worked a forty-hour week. I had never wanted to go to the gym and been too tired because of said forty-hour week and subsequently gotten really angry at my body’s inability to metabolize carbs at the rate that my hands could shove them into my face.
Maybe it didn’t hit my friends the way it hit me, but during my senior spring, I had to realize that I was staring into the face of a lifetime of check-writing and getting-sick-farther-away and working-a-lot and carb-sacrificing. I didn’t get lost in their whirlwind of a never-ending neon-colored Saturday. I had a panic attack about a 401k and rapid, uncontrollable weight gain as a direct result of rapid, uncontrollable pizza consumption. I made senior spring my Kansas. Don’t freak out if it’s not your Oz.

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