A little advice to college seniors

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On Tuesday, I began my final semester of undergrad at the University of Missouri. As of now, I’m not planning on attending graduate school, so this could be it.

Wow.

That’s wild for me to wrap my head around.

Typically, I’m nervous on the first day. I never feel confident about where my classes are or the types of professors I may have.

Tuesday was no different, except the nerves weren’t the same. I couldn’t fall asleep on Monday night. My head was filled with thoughts about my future. It was a feeling I’ve dreaded for a while. Life is just so hard to picture after school and it’s impossible not to think about.

Will I ever see some of my college friends again? What kind of job will I find? Will I even find a job? How do adults make friends?

School has always been a safe haven for me. It’s where I feel most comfortable meeting new people. In five months, that will all be over.

This semester, I decided to pack a lot onto my plate. I offered to TA a class, I’m an Involvement Ambassador, a St. Louis Post-Dispatch intern and I’ll still be running the social media accounts for the News + Record. Maybe it’s too much for me, but it feels like I should try to do as much as I can in these last four months.

Over Winter Break, I told myself I was going to avoid the news and spend time with my family in Florida. That idea was short lived as our trip was canceled when COVID-19 reached new heights. It was the right decision, but hard nonetheless.

Now, I’ve got some new advice for myself and other college students, maybe feeling the same way. Try to enjoy these last five months in whatever way it may look. Obviously, it’s OK to look for that cool new job or opportunity. But these last few months can be really meaningful. There were classes before us that lost this opportunity because of COVID-19 and while we’re still in-person, we should take advantage of seeing the people around us. Try to form some meaningful relationships, maybe ones that won’t collapse when you go your separate ways. Talk to that person sitting next to you in class. There’s nothing to lose. And don’t stress too much about what’s to come. As we’ve learned from the past two years, things are always changing.

Maybe I’m writing this column with the hope that I will listen to myself. I often have a hard time doing that, but hopefully, I will.

Max Baker can be reached at max@chathamnr.com and @maxbaker_15.

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