Newly graduated Ainsley here! Hello, hope you’re doing well. Something that has stuck with me these past few years is my passion to help people from my experiences. We learn a lot through life and sometimes it’s best to learn from those who have just gone ahead of you, who understand what you’re going through and live within a similar culture and time frame.
For this post, I wanted to focus on making the most of your senior year of college. This is an important stage of life because you are finally the ‘top dog’ at school and everyone else is below you, but your are also figuring out your entire future and it is full of lots of emotions of sadness and excitement. While I had a wonderful senior year, there are some things I wish I did better or had heard from someone else. I hope maybe you can implement or that it’ll change your perspective on some common misconceptions about senior year.
Things I wish I regret my senior year of college:
- Regret #1: not making more friends
Senior year I did not want to make many new friends because I wanted to spend time with the friends I already had and didn’t want to make friendships that I would leave 4 months later. While there is some merit to those reasons, I found there were many incredible people at my school and holding back from that for the sake of not being hurt was silly.
I wish I would have met more people just so I could learn from others, learn about others and be able to encourage others. I think that is something notable for all seasons of life: to make friends along the way and don’t let time hold back from that. Sometimes friends are just there for a season or a reason and that is okay. I joined a Bible study and met some new people who were really awesome in my last semester. Even at graduation parties (literally the last day I was in town), I met some great people who I wish I had known for longer.
God can use people in so many different ways, and in general, loving on people and being friendly to others is a part of the Gospel. Don’t seclude yourself or hold yourself back from the relationships you could make because you never know what can happen. I think it is healthy to have boundaries and not get tied to closely to people you will be leaving, however don’t let that isolate you. Making friends and losing friends is a common in any stage of life.
- Regret #2: not doing more activities
I think the biggest regret after every year is the wasted time or the more activities that could have been done. In the moment it may be hard to plan stuff or feel like work to do so or people may be busy, however it is 100% worth it every time to have those memories to look back on and take the effort. Have those spontaneous outings, have movie nights, and celebrate everything. Don’t hold back from spending time with the people you love and making memories. And the nice thing is that it doesn’t even have to be expensive or elaborate.
Looking back, life is completely different now and I miss all those fun college moments. Back then it was so much easier to get together with people and do stuff because everyone lived in the same city and wasn’t into their full time careers yet. Don’t miss out on all the fun things you could be doing.
- Regret #3: not taking more pictures
With the previous tip I quickly learned that taking pictures is important. Not just of what you’re doing, but also with each other. My friends and I were really bad about this and we have no pictures together because we always forget. While you may remember the memories now, looking back you may not remember everything. It’s also so lovely to have those memories to look back on and pictures with people.
Also side tip, don’t be afraid to take pictures or make people take pictures with you. If there is something you want a picture of or with, don’t be afraid to speak up and make that happen because you only get these moments once.
- Regret #4: being mad + stressed more
My last semester, I was definitely very stressed and because of this I had a bad attitude some of the time. Don’t let stress impact the way you treat others. Don’t let outside problems impact the people you spend time with and care about. Instead, have boundaries with work and school and personal matters. Remember that people are not your enemies, especially those who are your friends. Don’t forget that they care for you.
With this I have also realized that in every season of life as you get older, there is always more stress and things to be stressed about. You are the only one putting stress on yourself and you can manage stress. Try to take in all this season has for you. Don’t let the small things or the big things make you worried or anxious… although that is easier said than done.
- Regret #5: being stressed the week of graduation
Finals week and moving out occurred the same week as my graduation. My mindset for that week was just to get through it all and make it to graduation. However, I wish I had more time to do thoughtful things, like writing cards to my friends, getting them little gifts and savoring last moments together. It is a chaotic week, but it is important to take everything in and savor your last moments. Instead of trying to get through the week, take time to soak in moments: time with friends, time on campus, and time to reflect and be proud of yourself.
- Regret #6: not saying goodbye to everyone
As mentioned previously, finals week/graduation week was very chaotic and I sadly didn’t get to say bye to everyone I wanted to. While it’s hard to know the last time you’ll see someone or you know you may see them later, I would say it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you don’t have a graduation party (which, no worries, I didn’t either), make a list of all the people you want to say bye to and set up times to see them, even if it is just for a short moment. Even if you think you will see them at a later date, I think it is important to acknowledge that things will be different and say bye to this past season.
I hope these tips can help you to have the best senior year ever! But don’t forget that everything works out for a reason and there is so much joy to be found in senior year.
Please comment down below if there are any tips I left out or any advice you have from your own experience!