Check In: My Last First Day of School

This past Tuesday was one of the most confusing days of my life. Why? Because it was my last first day of school. Like…ever. That’s right, I have now officially begun the last semester of my collegiate career, and I am, to put it lightly, completely freaking out.

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How was I supposed to feel? Happy? Sad? Nervous? Confused? Excited? Stressed? Relieved? A combination of all the above? Because those are all the emotions I experienced at some point on Tuesday.

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Believe me, beginning the last lap of college is a very bizarre feeling. At this point in my life, I have more on my plate than ever before. I’m taking all 400-level courses that actually challenge me — in a good way, I can see the finish line (and therefore the beginning of the rest of my life), and yet, I want to try to enjoy my last few months of being a 22-year-old, freeloading college student. Somebody, please send help.

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As I walked around campus Tuesday, saying hi to new and old friends, and reading the syllabi of the last college courses I’ll ever take, I noticed a few things.

First, I am more sure of myself and what I’m doing than ever before. That includes last semester. It seemed that some miracle occurred on Tuesday where the stars lined up and for the first time ever, nothing phased me on my first day of classes. I knew exactly how to handle everything that was thrown my way, and I felt confident about myself.

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Second, I noticed that I began thinking about my experiences during my very first week of college in August 2010. The first day of classes that semester coincided with my 18th birthday, so that day brought strange feelings of growing up in several ways at once. This past Tuesday, I remembered exactly how I felt the first time I saw my college campus — the dorms, the student union, the quad, and so on — and I wondered if any students passing by me were experiencing the same emotions. I tried to start thinking of my current experiences on campus as being my last. That way, when I look back on my time in college — whether it be in one year or fifty — I will have snapshots in my mind of more than parties and late-night study sessions; I will have memories of the seemingly mundane experiences, like walking around on campus and grabbing lunch in the student union.

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Finally, I realized that there will never be another time quite as perfect as this. I feel great about my major, I have plenty of friends and connections on campus and in the community, I know exactly what I want to do with my life and how to get there, and yet, I still get four months to live a quintessential college lifestyle. I’m not yet a part of the real world, so my responsibilities seem relatively miniscule, but I have no doubt that I will succeed in the not-so-distant future.

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Everything is perfect at this point in time, so I want to ensure I make the most of it. My goal for this semester is to not make excuses for anything, but instead, to try everything. You’re only in college once, so now is my time to experience what I haven’t before. Everyone says that your last semester goes by the quickest; let’s hope that I can have a little fun along the way. It certainly doesn’t hurt that I’ve already booked my flights for spring break!

How were your first few days of the spring semester? Tell on Twitter and I might retweet you!
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