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What I Wish I Had Known Senior Year

Senior year is undeniably one of the most exciting times of your life and let me tell you why: You are approaching the end of more than a decade of schooling. Pretty much every special event this year will be dedicated to you and your fellow seniors. You have a world of limitless possibilities ahead following the day of your graduation. But, it also can be a terrifying time. Why you ask? Well, you’re racing against a clock to have the best time of your life before the real world kicks in. You’re afraid of being faced with massive responsibilities like debt, mortgages and insurance *shudder*. And then there is that never ending pesky question of “so what are you going to do after graduation?”

Are you triggered? This all sound familiar?

Never fear, there are ways to maximize this year, get yo’ life together and still have the most fun ever.

First, a little background on me: I was a journalism student at Hampton University who had a dream of becoming a news reporter. I also loved being involved and staying busy, juggling several on-campus organizations while still being determined to find time to spend time and love on my wonderful boyfriend Andrew. When senior year came, I knew that there were things I wanted to accomplish; like finally competing in a pageant I had always wanted to do, securing a full time job offer, and spending every possible second with my Honey Bun before our relationship transitioned into a long distance one. I only had about 180 days to make all of my dreams come true and I was determined to not let any of them fall to the wayside.

In my opinion, I have absolutely no regrets about my senior year at the illustrious Hampton University (Class of 2017 ya’ll). And I really, truly want others to have the same carefree spirit while still getting their work done and leaving their beloved school feeling confident in their next choices. So I want to share some things that I wish I had known my very first semester of senior year.

1. Now is the time to Reclaim Your Time

Use the great Auntie Maxine Water’s signature phrase to get you through the year. Remember that it’s your year so don’t allow fears or doubts keep you from living your best life. You will realize as you get older that absolutely no one is going to live your life, reap the benefits or receive the results of your choices but you. So go for whatever it is that you have always dreamed of or thought of doing. It’s possible that the last three years might have forced you to change yourself or shrink your big, bold personality to fit into others opinions. But it’s senior year now…now is the time to remember all the goals and dreams you had before and make them become a reality. Tell yourself that today is the day you stop caring what others say. Which brings me to my next point.

2. It’s not going to matter 5 seconds after graduation

This year, refuse to spend time in petty drama or surrounded by negative people. You know EXACTLY who I’m talking about because you immediately thought of them when you read that last sentence. It’s easy to get caught up in the longevity of relationships which makes us think we owe others something just because we’ve known them for 2, 3, 5, 17 years. Take a hard look at whether things are going to matter to you after graduation. Think: am I going to care about this person or this situation five seconds after I’ve have made one of my greatest life achievements and am headed towards my own amazing future? Leave behind grudges that you’ve held for years, leave behind friends who aren’t happy for your success, leave behind relationships that aren’t moving towards a lifetime of bliss. Now is the time to start being more honest with yourself. It might feel a little weird and suck at first when you cut the dead weight off, but I promise you will have so much more time to dedicate to celebrating your last year in college if you just let go of those things! Which leads me to the next thing I wish I had known.

3.Time slows down for no woman

As much as you don’t want it to approach…your graduation date is coming. And (for most of us) once you graduate the real deal comes. You’re probably going to be expected to attend a graduate school, start your first career position, find your own place to live and begin being more responsible for your own life. That fact is not going to go away just because you choose to ignore it. So face the challenge head on. Start to think right now today: where do I want to be at the end of this year? At this point, no dream is too big because you have plenty of time to work for it. Reach out to mentors and other graduates who you admire to find out what options are out there and how you can achieve your dream. Take the initiative to look at application dates for essays and graduate programs. Start to budget what your financial situation might be once you graduate. Even if it’s not solid, planning will make perfect. And then you will stress a lot less when people ask you that super intrusive and annoying question of “what are you doing after graduation?” Having an answer, even if it isn’t concrete will actually build your confidence and speaking things out into the atmosphere will make things come to pass in ways you can’t even imagine. Which brings me to my final point.

4. God truly has all the answers

I have been a believer nearly my entire life. But as a chronic control freak, it really took me a while to learn this lesson. I wish I had known not to fret and stress about things that were already ordained and set in place by God. I learned this lesson twice, in a positive way and a negative way. The negative way is that I wanted something so badly, and I heard from many people that I was going to receive it. I even heard it from God himself; but, like Sarah in the Bible, I was extremely impatient. I let a little seed of doubt root into my head and then eventually I attempted to get it on my own. The thing is…I did get what I wanted eventually, but it was nothing like I expected. It actually made me more stressed, more annoyed, unhappier and drained a lot of my financial resources. Because I didn’t wait to see how God would manifest it in my life, I paid a hefty price. However, God gave me a do-over like the merciful God he is. This time, I wanted a job. I not only wanted a job, but I wanted a job near family, near my boyfriend, with a certain salary, and to have this job solidified BEFORE I graduated. In my field, getting a job that has all of those things is nearly impossible and I had been warned by people in the industry about my expectations. However, at this point I had learned my lesson. I brought my requests to God and left it in his hands. I still continued to diligently work towards, meditate on and pray about my requests. Finally, one day, the perfect job opportunity fell right into my lap several months before graduation leaving me with nothing to stress or worry about. I say all that to say, during this time of transition, you may worry or fear. But as a child of the Most High, you need to rest and understand that He has you and He does not plan on letting you go. He may have an offer that you can’t refuse, but you have to sit back and let Him do His thing. It will be the best decision that you make your entire senior year…trust me girl!

Love and blessings,

Aliah W.

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