College is slowly but also quickly coming to a close for me as I am graduating in December. And it just hit me within the past two weeks that this is my last spring semester in college. As I sit here with approximately 4 weeks left until summer, I find myself reflecting on my time on an actual college campus.
My freshman year, I felt like I thrived and learned so many new things I would not have known about myself and life in general. Sophomore year, I lived in my sorority house and while that year was cut short due to the sweet coronavirus, it was still a time of new experiences and trying to deepen my understanding of who I am. Then the past year and a half seemed to really be taken from me as we have been doing online school for over a year now. Everyone says college is supposed to be the best four years of your life, but I honestly hope that isn’t true. I hope there is so much more than tests, heartbreak, cramming for exams, online classes, and everything else that hasn’t been the most exciting memories from college. Over the last year and a half, college football games and tailgates were taken away, parties over 10 people in general were taken away as well, in person classes, date parties, and really any college experience that would seem to be normal has been put on pause.
So even though I technically still live in my college town, I do classes from home, barely step foot on campus, and we have had one event all year for our sorority. It feels like I’m kind of just living with my friends and we all have our own little school lives in our bedrooms, doesn’t really give that classic college feel. Anyway, as I began to realize I would never have an actual college spring semester again, I began to have the desire to take on every college opportunity I was presented.
I went to in person chapter meeting for the first time all year, partially because I’m lazy and don’t want to walk super far at night but also because I’ve learned zoom is just so much easier. I have gone to baseball games, which honestly is one of my favorite sports to watch (because I genuinely don’t enjoy many). I have said yes every time one of my friends wants to get ice-cream or dinner. I have taken many drives around the city just listening to music and thinking about life (rip my bank account on the gas fund). I have helped my friends with their senior pictures by carrying the speaker, hairbrushes, and lip gloss around. I have also had nights with friends that are so sweet and so unexpected, like driving around then eventually finding some of our friends in their backyard and playing with their puppy.
While college life is nothing like it used to be, and let me emphasize the word nothing, it can still be good when you actually put effort in. Last semester I was in a dark season where the last thing I wanted to do most days was leave my room and be around others. But, when I actually would put effort in to get coffee with a friend or go take a walk around the park, I would enjoy my day 10x more than if I didn’t. It is all about the effort, and that is something I have been learning. My go-to is to usually say “no” because I sometimes make plans in advance and then I get exhausted and don’t want to go by the time I make them. But, this past month, I have made it a priority to say yes to all the offers I receive. Even though this semester is still a COVID semester, there has been so much fruit that has come out of it. When we put good in, we get good out.
So, to the girl who is in her last spring semester, I know this is very specific and even if you aren’t, put effort in. Get off TikTok and go take a walk with your roommate or get a slushie with your friend from class. Get to know people, immerse yourself in the world around you, and find people you enjoy spending time with. And don’t give the money excuse, because I am in the exact same spot as you, a broke college kid. But, just because I don’t have as much money as I would like doesn’t mean I can’t find fun experiences to have. Find things to do that aren’t super expensive or even better, free. Go walk in a park (free), drive around a listen to music (mostly free), watch a movie on Netflix with your friends (probably free because your parents most likely pay for the account), get Mexican food with friends (not super expensive), or go on a hike (free). Whatever you do, be intentional, put actual effort in, and the memories you get out of these experiences will be ones you remember for a lifetime.