The case of the sentimental senior

I have never been a very sentimental person. Hallmark cards have always made me roll my eyes. I am usually skeptical and somewhat annoyed by overly sentimental people. However, something has changed in my last few months at Maryville College.

Over the course of my last semester, I have become the person who always used to annoy me. That person who urges every person I meet to “make the most of it” while warning them that “it will go by so fast.” Even as these words spew from my mouth, I wonder what on Earth has gotten into me. When did I become a walking and talking cliché?

Despite knowing how ridiculous I sound, I continue to say these things to almost every underclassman I meet. I trap them first by talking about college in general, making sure to end the conversation by urging them to not let the years pass the by. I would probably shout these words through a megaphone if given the chance. But I know that they have all been told this before. We all have.

I used to resent it when alumni told me to appreciate every second. Because how do you even take that advice? How can you truly know how much to appreciate something until you have moved on from it? I have spent the last four years appreciating my college experience, but now, with just a few weeks until graduation, I suddenly feel like I did not appreciate it enough.

I have even started using the imminence of graduation as a bribe. You do not want to hang out? Okay, but do you remember I am graduating in two weeks? This will probably be the last chance.

Suddenly, I have begun assessing every way I spend my time. I wonder if what I am doing will be memorable enough, if I am spending my time with the right people, if I will regret not having more fun in the weeks before I graduate.

I think part of my uncontrollable sentiment is motivated by fear: Fear of the unknown. I have never not had a plan, but now I am about to be thrown face first into the real world. With my future around the corner, it seems like the worst thing that could happen is finding out these really were “the best years of my life” because I still have a lot of life ahead of me. With that looming over my head, I suddenly feel like I should have done everything. I should have crammed it all in, and I suspect I am not the only member of the class of 2016 who feels this way.

But when I think back on my time at Maryville College, I think of all the great people I have known here, all the late night drives to the mountains, the spontaneous trips and the unexpected memories. I realize just why I am so upset to leave it behind, but I also realize that there is no danger of my years at MC having passed me by. There is no danger of not having made memories: I could write a book on the memories I have made here.

So, do I encourage underclassmen to appreciate their time in college? Yes. I will probably continue spouting sentimental words to anyone who lets me because MC has become such a huge part of my life. However, I vow to never settle and label the past four years my “best years.” Instead, I vow to make every year one of the best years. There is still time to do the things that I did not have time for in college. I am realizing that getting a job does not mean giving up on life.

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