For many, senior year is the last stepping stone into a new world. It is the tying off of loose ends—the last few classes before graduation. Reactions to senior year can vary, and everyone’s experiences are different.
In order to understand the trials and events of senior year, one must look at the period from multiple perspectives. Everyone has a different view of their college careers, and that carries into their final year.
For some, it has not been so different. “It feels exactly like senior year of high school…it feels…so-so…I worked hard and getting the diploma, like, physically, is the last thing on my mind” says Biology and Exercise Science Major Jessica Skye. The end of the college road can bring about a bit of déjà vu in that sense. Sometimes, one just wants to plow on through to the end—and that’s okay. College is a wonderful learning opportunity, but it can become tiring at the same time.
Senior Ashayla Byrd, double-majoring in Dance and English, agrees. “I have to, like, focus on what’s next at the same time as I’m focusing on what’s happening right now, so it’s…pretty tiring.”
Many times the road to graduation becomes exhausting. However, the results are often well worth the effort. In addition, as a senior one must have awareness of what comes next. That can be anything from a first career to starting a family to going to grad school.
According to senior Logan Hagstrom: “It’s been very different…due to COVID and…all the changes…the accommodation of going virtual and having in-person classes too…different atmosphere versus learning in the actual college environment”.
COVID-19 has been a curveball from the start. For last year’s senior class, it meant no walking across the stage to get one’s diploma in person—something that is a tradition at all places of higher learning. This schoolyear has yet to fully end (except for those graduating in the winter), but the effects of dealing with the disease can still be felt.
In the meantime, college students undergo many a trial and event that changes their perspectives on things—be it everyday life, privileges enjoyed in school but not around the world, and other issues.
Some students have become more aware of their positions, and more knowledgeable about those whose fortunes are not nearly as positive.
“I think I’ve just become a lot more passionate about things that I used to be a lot more passive about” Ashayla says. This is true. College allows for a more open understanding of the world about. Shenandoah’s GCP trips and other opportunities for travel across the globe are a doorway into this understanding.
At the end, each senior interviewed was asked what advice they may have for underclassmen at Shenandoah.
“I’d say…get to know people more…and also…go on hikes or just experience Winchester” Jessica says. And she is right. Speaking from experience, one cannot simply go it alone throughout their entire college career. In order to prepare for after-college life and just to unwind and enjoy their time here, connection is important.
“Have a social life…you can’t pour out of an empty cup” says Ashayla.
Shenandoah lays great emphasis on the concept of reaching out—professors and staff bend over backwards to ensure that every students receives all that they need to succeed. “Never be afraid to reach out to your professors” adds Logan.