The Beginning of the End: Part I

As I begin my third year on staff at What The F, and my first year as editor of our beautiful blog, I wanted to inaugurate this journey with the first piece in a series I’m writing dedicated to those lucky students who still have ample time left at this university. Enjoy, stay tuned for more of my ramblings from senior year, and thanks in advance for supporting this blog!

“How do you feel about your last year at Michigan?” is the question I have been asked by friends, family, co-workers, and most everyone else. I repeat the same answer to anyone who asks, which is, “It’s bittersweet.”

Truthfully, I feel more sad about it than I let on, because the most heartbreaking part of senior year for me is that I feel like the rug is about to be pulled out from under me just as soon as I’ve found my footing at this university. I have a singular year to enjoy the fact that I finally feel confident in who I am and what I’m doing until I have to start from square one again. It’s a depressing thought that I try not to dwell on too much.

There are so many things I wish I could tell the past version of me, who wasted so much time on caring what people thought or being paralyzed by the anxiety of everything that could go wrong. Here are the ones I think about the most, and the first things I would say to freshman year Alexandra as she moved into East Quad over three years ago:

  1. Absolutely no one cares if you’re alone. You don’t stand out. It’s not weird. Learn to love hanging out with yourself, you’re your most loyal friend after all. Eating in the dining hall, studying at the library, and sitting on the Diag don’t require company; relish in your quiet time.
  2. Stop thinking that there is a singular way of doing college. Movies and Instagram and stereotypes say that you have to be partying every weekend, that you should be having reckless hookups, that it’s strange to spend excessive amounts of time on your homework. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Don’t think you have to be anything other than yourself. No one knows you better than yourself, so why would you listen to what other people think you should be doing with your time?
  3. You will find your place. This university is enormous but I promise you will find your people if you just make minimal effort to put yourself out there. It’s also not strange at all if it takes a while to make friends; if anything you should be suspicious of those who seemingly make best friends overnight because there’s absolutely no way those friendships are genuine. Be patient and your time will come.
  4. It’s not normal to feel miserable and anxious several times a day. Get help, even if you think your problems aren’t bad enough to justify therapy. There is no required amount of mental distress you must possess before seeking out someone to talk to about how you’re feeling. Go to CAPS, look for a therapist on PsychologyToday, do something to take care of yourself and your sanity. College (and honestly, life) is hard, and there’s nothing wrong with admitting that you’re struggling.
  5. Adults absolutely love to say that your time in college is going to be “the best years of your life.” Take this unhelpful sentiment with a grain of salt. Your time in college does not need to be jam-packed with amazing memories that you’ll remember for years to come. There will be times you’re depressed, there will be times you’re heartbroken, there will be times you’re bored, and there most certainly will be plenty of time where nothing special in particular is happening and you’re just going through the motions of class, homework, eat, sleep, repeat. Don’t feel like the mundane moments are wasted time, because how special would memorable moments be if they happened every day?

I’d be lying if I said I have fully incorporated this advice into my own life, but the goal for senior year is to embody it as much as I can. It’s never to late to take control of your college experience.

Image courtesy of Alexandra Niforos via freshman year

Alexandra Niforos

Blog Editor, What The F Magazine

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