Any college student is all too familiar with the feeling. The feeling of returning to campus after working your butt off all summer, reuniting with friends you haven’t seen since May and getting ready to conquer the new school year. The first day of fall semester was one that I anxiously looked forward to every year, only this time it was different, because I knew it would be my last.
However, I entered the new school year like I always have in the past, nervous, yet excited and determined, but I will admit I did so with that bittersweet symphony playing in the back of my mind. I knew that this was my last chance to embrace the college experience, yet at the same time prepare myself for reality that is to come after graduation. “Nine months,” I told myself, only nine months until the best four years of my life are over.
It is now November, and right before my very eyes, I’ve watched that nine abruptly turn into eight, then seven and now only six. Just like the past three years, the fall semester came and went, but I have not let myself take a single moment for granted. Yet I keep reminding myself that winter break is only a month away, and I sigh a slight sound of relief and I think about a long-awaited break from the stresses of senior year. Homework, essays, skipping class to study for an exam in another class has been the foundation of fall semester thus far, and if I’m being honest, my entire college career. Yet in some ways, this semester has been much different from the rest, in the best way possible.
Although I no longer reside on campus, I’ve gained the experience of being able to live with three of my very best friends, one of whom I didn’t even know this time last year. Is it not crazy how life works? With it being our first and last year in our off-campus apartment, together we’ve laughed, we’ve cried but we’ve also made memories that will last a lifetime. We encourage each other to work hard and shoot for the stars as we embrace the beginning of the end.
From meeting with my advisor one last time, enrolling in my final courses for spring semester to handing in my DIG form last minute, it brought me a simultaneous feeling of sadness and accomplishment, a sensation I had only felt once before, about four years ago at my high school graduation. It wasn’t until that moment, or maybe the moment when I got my first student loan repayment notice, that it finally hit me: I was almost done with college.
My fall semester has been nothing short of amazing, which can also be said for my entire college experience so far. I came to UMass Lowell with a purpose to gain the skills and knowledge to become successful, but I will be leaving with much more: lifelong friends, a passion for writing and a non-extinguishable fire in my belly for learning. Growing up is hard, but it’s a challenge we all must face, because it’s a bittersweet symphony this life.