I used to appreciate the speed of passing time when a classmate would comment on how close we were in the semester to spring break. There was excitement in knowing that all the hard work I was putting into midterm papers and exams was soon leading to a break in the semester. I also knew that if spring break was coming, the end of the semester was getting nearer and nearer on the horizon, and that meant the thrill of summer vacation was close at hand.
This year, as I quickly approach the end of my undergraduate career, I cringe a little when someone notices how close we are to spring break. While it is still encouraging to remember that the tests and papers will soon be done and turned in, and I am ready to embrace what comes next, I can’t think about the end of my time at college without at least a little melancholy. After all, I’ve spent four challenging but wonderful years as a college student, and the future is a question mark at the moment.
To combat the melancholy of my final weeks as an undergrad, I have resolved to make the most of the next few weeks. Sure, I’ll be filling out job applications and going to interviews and arranging my next steps, but I am not ready to let these final college experiences slip away from me. Perhaps you feel the same way, even if you know you will be back to do this all again next year. Even underclassmen can benefit from making the most of the last weeks of the semester.
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I am on a mission to experience the best college has to offer to the fullest. Are you with me? Here is how we’ll accomplish our mission:
1. Experience life conscientiously.
Life tends to speed up in the last weeks of the semester, so saying “Slow down and savor the moment!” might just stress out the college student who is writing three term papers and group project at the same time. Even if your life is moving really fast, you don’t want to miss anything. Pay attention to what is going on around you and what you are thinking and feeling. Appreciate your best friend as she sits across from you in the dining commons and bask in the camaraderie in the student section at the baseball game. Think about your life as it is happening, and you won’t be as tempted to look back later and lament, “I didn’t know what a good thing I had going for me back then.”
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2. Participate in a campus activity you have not participated in before.
Or, if you are an upperclassman, you could revisit an event or campus activity you participated in when you were a freshman but have never gotten around to going to again. The key is to make a new memory to commemorate the last weeks of the semester. See a band concert, go to a university play, attend a sporting event, or participate in one of your college’s wacky traditions. You might even want to do something a little out of your comfort zone – a great way to work on your personal growth while appreciating something that makes the college experience unique from other times in your life.
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3. Take extra pictures.
Don’t let the camera or phone get in the way of personally experiencing an event, but don’t be afraid to pull out the camera and capture some memories. Record the fun, the craziness, and the beauty of everyday life so you can look at it again later.
4. Put down the phone.
This can also go for streaming, gaming, and a host of other activities. I know this somewhat contradicts #3. Taking pictures is great, but there is also something to be said for looking at life without a camera lens in front of you – it helps your brain record its own memories. You will have all your life to scroll, watch, and post, so put down the cell phone and make connections with face-to-face people while you still have such a large population of peers living with you. When you are waiting for an event to start and are tempted to scroll through your news feed, instead look around you and pay attention to the people sitting around you. Drink in each moment you can.
5. Finish well.
Put your best work of the semester into these next few weeks. Be determined, be dedicated, and be organized. Your hard work will give you a sense of accomplishment, and you will leave college for the semester or for good proud of what you have done. If you get tired on the way, just remember – the next break is right around the corner.