What it means to be a senior

The start of senior year in college is definitely a mix of emotions. While you’re excited for the year to come, as it is your last as an undergrad or maybe as a student in general, you can’t help but feel a bit daunted by the fact it’ll all be over in a few short months. You’ll inevitability close the chapter on 8 a.m. classes, cheering on your team from the student section and hanging out at the Rat after a hectic week. There’s also an added pressure that wasn’t present when you were a senior in high school, because this time when you graduate, the “real world” truly begins.

For many people, their next step is a no brainer: grad school. But the rest of us, myself included, who are content with our bachelor’s degree for the time being, will embark on a new journey. Some of us have worked during college, so we’ve gotten a glimpse into the so-called “real world,” but it’s not until we leave school behind that we become fully immersed in what that term means and gain the experience of working full time.

Some of us also don’t know if we want to leap into the workforce right away. There are also soon-to-be graduates who don’t have a foolproof plan post senior year, and that’s okay too. Whether you’re thinking about finally ticking something off your bucket list to travel or taking a year at home to figure things out, it’s normal to be unsure about where you see yourself in the future. Everyone doubts themselves and their abilities from time to time, but maintaining positive surroundings and relationships for ourselves can make all the difference when making tough decisions.

It’s also okay to consider an unconventional career. For me, as an English major and aspiring writer, I’m constantly grappling between a conventional career path or pursuing my dream of becoming a published author. This dream is often met with raised eyebrows and rolled eyes, but I’m up for the challenge. After all, magic happens when people underestimate you. You persevere and work harder to not only prove their misconceptions wrong, but also prove to yourself that your dreams, no matter how “different” they may seem, are indeed valid.

It’s bittersweet to be leaving behind an institution as life-changing as UM. To me, being a senior means always being able to rely on the Canes community and having a home at UM. This school is such a special place and I’m so grateful for my time here. I look forward to representing my school with pride long after I graduate.

With the 2019-2020 school year officially underway, it’s important that we take a moment amid all the hustle and bustle of senior year to pause and breathe. Reflection is crucial so we can look back a few months from now and be satisfied with the life we created at UM. In the meantime, there’s so much to look forward to and enjoy right now. When we’re feeling doubtful, we should keep in mind that no matter what we choose to do after graduation, as long we choose the path that we feel will bring us the most happiness and internal peace, we’ll be alright.

Nicole Macias is a senior majoring in English.