Making the Most of Senior Year
The time has finally arrived. Senior year of college. The passing of an era. The true passing of childhood into the adult world. If your college experience has been anything like mine, which I hope for your sake it has been, then saying goodbye to your college years is something you have been dreading since the beginning of junior year. College was the time in my life when I became the person I am proud to be now. Someone who knows the pain of struggles, but knows that God is always there to rescue and strengthen me. College is where I became the type of girl who knows what it means to be a good friend because I finally had great examples all around me. The type of girl who is ready to step into the adult world.
If you are entering your senior year of college like I am, you might be feeling overwhelmed. Too soon we will have to leave behind the comfort of dorm rooms for scary new workplaces and apartments, or worse, returning to our parents’ house. We will trade our retail and waitressing jobs for business casual 9 to 5 occupations. We will trade our pillow talks and movie nights for skype sessions and weddings. It’s hard to not feel completely overwhelmed when for the first time in years you have no idea where you’ll be next fall.
This year is going to be a filled with priceless memories, a lot of stress, and both dread and excitement for starting a new chapter in our lives. The one thing that has and will remain constant through it all is Jesus. I love this verse from one of my favorite songs from Hillsong United, Desert Song:
All of my life, through every season, you are still God. I have a reason to sing. I have a reason to worship.
All our lives God has been there every step of the way, through the cruelness of middle school to the fear of college applications, to our senior year of college now. Ecclesiastes 3 (NIV) is a chapter in the Bible very well-known for its verse about change. But there are a couple parts of the verse I particularly want to focus on today.
“There is a time to plant and a time to uproot.”
College was our planting season and the time to grow where we were making our homes for four years, but now, it is time to uproot and move to a new city, a new town, or a new job for the first time. God is going to give us the tools to help us plant ourselves again. We just have to let Him, sometimes painfully, rip up the roots we so tenaciously still want to cling to.
“A time to weep and a time to laugh.”
My college years have been filled with plenty of both. From many laughter-filled nights and adventures with friends, to weeping from the stress of a test, anxiety, or the rejection of a boy. Every period of life, including transition, is filled with both. Like Dr. Seuss says, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
“A time to tear down and a time to build.”
We are going to be doing a lot of what feels like tearing down come August, what with moving away from friends who have become like family, communities that have helped us to grow as a person, and the safety of being looked after. But we also are building something beautiful. We are letting God build our future where He is ultimately in control.
We are saying no to the temptation of doubt, anxiety, and self-control that the devil puts into our hearts and minds. Instead, we are saying yes to our faith that God has a plan and will sustain us. This year might be filled with times where you feel like everyone is against you, including God. But take heart, He has not abandoned you. No matter how many rejection emails, ignored resumes, and watching friends get their dream jobs you witness, do not forget that God is writing your story as well. Trust Him. We are given these seasons of waiting to grow our patience and dependence on an everlasting God more than on ourselves. You might have cruised through high school and college, not having to worry about money or where you would be working in the summer. But now the adult world is knocking, and only God can give you the strength to step through the door.
Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” This verse can be our constant companion during our time of change. Every time we move, say goodbye, and start over, God is constant. If you move to a new town where no one knows your name or stay to work in the hometown you’ve lived forever, God will never change.
I hope those verses give you encouragement to handle the changes senior year will inevitably bring. But I want to offer some more advice to seniors out there to make the most of this last year of college:
1. Don’t overcommit.
It can be easier senior year to feel like you have to rush to fulfill certain academic requirements, the last time to join that club you always wanted, and the last time to reconnect with friends you had freshman year. Though those are all fantastic things, you don’t want to overbook yourself so much that you miss out on things you’ll regret. Like booking every weekend to capacity instead of spending time just relaxing with friends. Or studying non-stop to get the highest GPA you can attain while blowing off friends who are only around a couple more months. Or joining a new club while neglecting the one that inspired you freshman year. Or trying to enrich all your relationships before you leave college while not having the time for the relationship that matters the most. Take a deep breath. You have nine whole months before you graduate. Don’t burn through them.
2. Don’t be afraid to try new things and make new friends.
I know this slightly contradicts what I stated before, but I think that as long as you aren’t overcommitting, it’s good to try something new. This is your last year to do an overseas mission trip you never got around to signing up for or befriending the one girl in your major classes you always wanted to get to know better. Pray for the wisdom to understand the things you need to dive in to try before you graduate and the dead branches that are holding you back from a fantastic senior year.
3. Be intentional.
It is easy in college to walk down the hall to your best friend’s room and grab her for dinner, but the real world isn’t going to be quite so easy. You might be moving away from the best friends you have ever known in a year, which means you need to spread the ground work for being intentional with them right now. That could be as simple as grabbing a meal with someone once a week or setting aside times to have girls’ nights with a group of friends. Don’t let the friendships that have grown you into the person you are today fall by the wayside after graduation. Be honest with your friends about intentionality and making sure you spend your senior year making memories you won’t forget.
4. Be God’s servant.
Regardless of whether you attend a Christian college or university, like I do, use this year to truly focus on your relationship with God. One of the best perks of college is having four years to selfishly improve and work on the person God has called you to be. Be open to the tasks and people God wants to bring and use in your life this coming year. Be open to corrections and the cutting off of idols and sins. Be open to the places God wants you to go and the people at your school He wants you to witness to. There are a million tiny and big ways that we can glorify and serve God day in and day out. Let Him guide you this year so that you can say that your senior year of college was the year God made you His own.
I hope that these tips and verses help you start the process of the emotional roller coaster senior year will be. Just remember, it isn’t over yet. It might feel like time has been flying by, but don’t waste your last months at college crying about how it’s almost over. Save your tears for graduation day, not a minute before. God is going to use this year to grow and use you in so many amazing ways just like He has done in the past.
So, what do you say class of 2017, are you ready?