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For all the stress and anxiety of figuring out what you’re going to do after graduation, senior year is mostly just a hell of a lot of fun. I’m not one to get all “best years of your life” about college, because they shouldn’t be. But thinking back to senior year, living in an apartment (the likes of which we could never afford now) with my best friends, it really was a magical time. People like to attribute that magic to all sorts of reasons—constant partying, minimal responsibility, being the head honchos on campus—but I think what makes senior year so great can be boiled down to one simple thing: not giving a sh*t about pointless crap. Such as:
1. Taking classes you feel like you should take.
Remarkably, you’ll find that college becomes much more engaging once you stop taking classes you think will look good on your resume and start taking classes you’re actually interested in. Intro to Women’s Studies? Absolutely. Graphic Design for non-majors? Why the hell not!
My friends never seemed to believe me when I told them the one thing I was absolutely sure of in life: “Grades don’t matter.” Granted, my friends were fellow Liberal Studies majors and they really didn’t. But even for the rest of you who had to care about grades to get into med school or law school or land a baller accounting internship last summer: Those days are over, so embrace it. If you have the option between studying an extra couple of hours and doing something spontaneous with friends, for the love of all that is good choose your friends.
3. Spending time with people you never really liked.
I hate to break it to you, but you don’t have a ton of time left in the glorious college bubble. You’ll quickly realize that you have to make the most of the little time you do have left, and that means spending time with only your favorite people. Because really, if you have no interest in continuing the friendship after college, what’s the point? Sorry overdramatic friends, selfish friends, obnoxious friends, constant DGP friends, or hell, just mediocre friends: Ain’t nobody got time for that.
4. Going out because you feel like you have to.
This is more of a hope for you than a true belief it will happen. For me, senior year was a time I could say with confidence: I am going to do exactly what I want to do, and that’s it. There was no more standing around crowded bars I hated because I “felt like I should go.” Would you rather invite a bunch of friends over, make way too much food, and play Settlers of Catan? Do that. (I know this advice is sound because it is exactly what I did on many occasions. And it was awesome. If you’re in the mood, we also created a drinking version of Settlers, but talk to me about that after class.)
5. Saying what you think your professors want to hear.
Hand in hand with not caring about grades, senior year you’ll actually start forming opinions that may differ from those of your professors, and sharing them in discussion. Let me tell you, class gets way more fun. Miraculously, when I started writing papers on topics that I genuinely cared about (rather than the topics I thought professors were looking for), my grades actually went up. Go figure.
6. Finishing things that don’t matter (like useless minors).
Please witness this professional interaction that has never happened in the history of mankind:
“Where’d you go to school?”“[Insert any college.]”“Cool, what’d you major in?”“[Insert any major.]”“Okay, but what were your minors?”
Nobody cares. If you’re interested in the classes, by all means take them.
7. Buying all of the “required” texts for a class.
By now you know that massive textbooks are oftentimes massively useless, and you’re spending way too much money on something you will open maybe twice throughout the semester. Find an old one to borrow, split one between four friends in the class, or just go on classes and notes. When grades don’t matter, the world is your oyster!
8. Participating in any college traditions or activities you don’t enjoy.
You’re getting the theme of this by now. If everyone always goes to an event because “it’s tradition” but no one actually enjoys it…don’t go! Senior year, you will soon realize, is for learning the things you’re interested in, and doing things that you love with people you love. Anything outside of that will quickly, justifiably, be cut.
Enjoy every second.