By Kalie McMahan, Ad Manager—

This year I helped freshmen move into Lockmiller dorms on campus.  As we were unloading one girl’s car, I heard her dad say, “college is going to be the best four years for you.”  My heart sank a little, and I found myself feeling like a bit of a failure. This is my fifth year in college — everyone else my age is transitioning into the adult world and I’m here unloading an 18-year-old’s car.

The truth is, many of us take a little longer than four years to graduate college, and that’s OK.  Here’s what you should know about being a fifth-year senior:

  1. Embrace your last year– Here’s your last chance to do all of the things you told yourself you would accomplish in college.
  2. Befriend a freshman — one person can have a dramatic impact on another’s life. When I think back to my freshman year, I was lost and in need of encouragement and direction. Be that source of steadiness for someone else!
  3. Enjoy your classes — this is likely the last time you will ever have to take notes, study for exams, and write papers. Although this might sound crazy to you now, I’ve heard many older friends express how much they miss learning once they are swept up into the adult world. Soak up these last few classes and enjoy the process of learning!
  4. Attend the football games —  Have you somehow managed to attend UTC for nearly 5 years without ever attending a football game? Get your pom-poms out, set up a tailgate with some friends, and cheer on the Mocs!
  5. Start a supper club — this isn’t just a fun thing for older, married couples! Ask a few of your friends if they’d like to start cooking together once a week. Or have a potluck dinner and play charades after.
  6. Befriend your professors — they aren’t just a bunch of nerds, most of them lead very interesting lives! You can learn a lot from sitting in your professor’s office, asking them questions about their young adulthood. After all, you’re about to graduate (god-willing) and you could use a few pointers on starting out! Plus, if you’re planning on going to graduate school (YGG), these relationships will serve you very well when it comes to recommendation letters.
  7. Stay present in your club/organization — Even though many of your friends have graduated, your organization is still there. Make the most of it. Show up to all the functions, because your presence is so important to them, I promise.
  8. Don’t let the senior slump take over — Your grades are still important! As much as we don’t want to admit it, you are not over the hill yet. Don’t give up. Try your best and graduate confidently, knowing that you gave your all and finished strong.
  9. Have you always wanted to run a half marathon? — Do it now! You are definitely in better shape at ~22 than you will be in 10 years. Take advantage of your youth!
  10. Go on that trip with your friends — Last spring break, best spring break. Go somewhere with your friends to make the best memories yet. On a budget? Go on a road trip and camp out. Doesn’t matter where, just hop in your car and don’t look back.

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