When did life become so hard?
Yeah, I know you’re thinking, "Here we go again with some whiny, self-entitled college student who thinks her problems actually mean something."
Well, you’re wrong.
I know my concerns don’t hold a candle to most, but they are relevant and do apply to a pretty large population.
It's a population that is consumed with thoughts of the next step, the big change and the final days of freedom.
Yes, I’m talking about college seniors.
An army of career-hungry young adults who have spent the last three and a half years completely focused on their futures and preparing to become fully functional members of society.
At least, that’s what we were supposed to be doing.
Though we all began attending college to eventually earn a degree and move on with our highly successful lives, more than a few distractions have gotten in the way of our educational endeavors.
No, I’m not just talking about alcohol.
I’m talking about meeting new people, forming connections, trying new things, leading healthy lifestyles, getting involved, becoming self-dependent and doing it all in-between class lectures, exams and final papers.
Despite its definition, we all know college is a hell of a lot more than an educational institution or establishment.
College is a whole other world filled with constant exploration, unanswered questions and one constant struggle we are faced with each and every day: Should I play it safe or be spontaneous?
Though this struggle tends to appear the very first time your freshman year roommate asks you if you want to go out the night before your 8 am exam, it doesn’t truly become real until you’ve reached your final year.
Senior year is unlike any other.
You’re in this weird limbo between savoring every last moment of your college life’s existence, and being consumed with thoughts of your hopelessly undetermined future.
It’s the classic battle of the heart vs. mind.
Do you spend your time soaking up your surroundings and crossing off every last item on your bucket list, or do you get your sh*t together and start thinking about the next logical step in your life?
Ask your parents, and they’ll say you’re an idiot if you don’t start planning for full-time employment.
Ask your friends, and they’ll say you’re crazy for not appreciating the time you have left unemployed.
Bottom line: There is no right answer.
It’s up to you and the priorities you set whether you choose to treat your senior year as a last hoorah or a real world trial period.
Either you graduate with little to tell and a million what ifs, or you’re left dazed and confused without a clue what to do with your new degree.
So, what’s a senior to do?
Well, since we are the oldest of those in college, we’re expected to find the formula to a little thing called work-life balance.
Though the term is most commonly associated with full-time employment and corporate America, I believe discovering the secret begins far before you graduate.
It appears when you have to choose between ditching class for happy hour or being a responsible student.
It shows up when the $100 in your bank account is enough to buy a concert ticket or a new business suit.
And it really rears its ugly head when a week of spring break can be spent sipping margaritas on the beach or interviewing with your dream company.
These constant dilemmas seem to pop up more often than we’d like, and deciding which way to go is never an easy task.
We’re still kids at heart who love nothing more than staying in our pajamas until noon and eating endless slices of pizza.
But, we’re also young adults who have all the capabilities of becoming a generation of doers.
We’re just trying to figure out where we fit in the spectrum, and most importantly, what’s going to make us happy people.
Because in the end, that’s really what it’s all about.
Whether your perfect night is dancing on tables at your favorite bar or studying until 3 am with your favorite people, your senior year will be what you make of it.
It won’t make or break the rest of your life, but it will be remembered.
And the only way to spend it is the way you want to.
Best of luck, my fellow seniors. I’ll see you on the other side.