Google the word “Senioritis” and you’ll be treated to a bunch of articles filled with tips on how to “battle” and “fight off” this terrible affliction. The authors of these articles, without exception, are absolutely ancient, have forgotten the magic of youth and graduated before Drake taught us all the true meaning of YOLO.
Think back to your senior year of high school. Not the awful college applications part, but the part afterwards, when you decided to commit the next four years of your life to a beautiful Jesuit institution in Chestnut Hill and could just lay back and chill until September. Wasn’t that awesome?
Those months were like a sneak preview of what retired life for rich people is like, except you were still young enough to enjoy being alive. You had worked your butt off for three and a half years and you finally hit the light at the end of the tunnel. As long as you didn’t literally fail your classes, you could do what all those self-help gurus pay lip service to and actually live in the moment. What does that even mean? Who cares! You got to decide.
Now, spring break is over, and a quarter of the Boston College student body can see that light at the end of the tunnel again. And within that quarter, I personally have seen everyone I know fall into one of four post-grad-plan groups:
- People going to work full-time.
- People going to grad school.
- People going to a volunteer program.
- People with absolutely no idea what they’re going to do.
Obviously a good number of people are still finalizing the details of their plans, but nobody’s going to feel too badly as you agonize over whether to accept an offer from KPMG or Deloitte, or how long you have to decide whether you’re going to NYU or Fordham for law school. As for those of you group four wanderers who still think your GPAs are a matter of life and death, don’t think you’re exempt from the following. You'll see what I mean.
How am I going to convince you to let loose and let your senioritis flag proudly fly? If you’re familiar with the concept of foreshadowing you probably already know, but let me spell it out. After I had so much fun breaking down love and relationships through the songs of the maaaaaaan Justin Bieber, we’re going back down the Canadian music guide route. And this time, it’s with the biggest thing to hit America from up north since Wayne Gretzky: Mr. YOLO himself, Aubrey Drake Graham.
A little background on this song: it’s the first official single off Drake’s upcoming album, and the night he dropped it, he included this note, from which I present the following excerpt that applies to everybody in the senior class:
“My family and my second family (consisting of the best friends anybody could ever have) all struggled and worked extremely hard to make all this happen. I did not buy my way into this spot and it was the furthest thing from easy to achieve.”
I don’t think I’m making any crazy assumptions saying that for most of us, the past four years have been mostly work and a little play. Now that we’re about two feet from the finish line, forgive us if we ease off the gas a little bit and start to fully enjoy the ride.
And while being a second semester senior may not be quite as awesome as being a world famous musician, the “started from the bottom, now the whole team here” sentiment in the chorus still sums up the journey from freshman to senior year. If you don’t remember what it was like being a freshman, let’s refresh your memory – it was way less awesome than being one of the most famous musicians in the world.
Personally I can vividly remember what it was like being stuck in CLXF on the weekends. Basically, just change that Drizzy lyric from “the bottom” to “Upper,” and that’s how I feel as a senior looking back on it. Sitting in the Claver 2 lounge on Friday night watching Fight Club for the third time that semester, zoning out and imagining how much fun the upperclassmen were having down on Lower was not exactly the most excellent end to weeks filled with 9 AM classes and WebAssign problem sets. As I’ve written before, I could not wait until I snagged myself a dorm room where all the action was.
Now, I’m finally here, living it up with the same people who were sitting in that lounge with me back in 2009. Except the problem is that a few of them are either still sacrificing Saturdays to study for exams a week in advance, or they’re just trying to focus on post-grad life and cutting down on seeing the rest of us as much as they could.
Some of the greatest thinkers of all time have written more on the importance of friendship than I possibly could. As seniors, we’ve waited years to be in the exact spot we’re in, with the people we’re with right now. In less than three months, all of it will be gone forever and personally, I won’t be wishing I’d spent more time editing any research papers for my cultural diversity core. I’ll be wishing I spent more time taking advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime situation with the people who’ve made college such an incredible experience for me. So I figure I might as well leave with as few regrets as possible and enjoy the time we’ve got left as much as I can.
The lyrics for “Headlines” don’t really have much to do with the idea of community, but the video for “Headlines” is so obnoxiously Toronto that the only explanation is that Drake got fed up with people accusing him of hiding his Canadian-ness.
What does this hometown pride have to do with BC? Everything! Ask literally anyone at all associated with the university, and he or she will tell you that the feeling of community both on the campus and among the ridiculously loyal alumni might just be the best thing about Boston College.
The idea of “senior bucket list” is not unique to BC seniors, but the items on a BC senior’s bucket list are obviously unique to BC. And even if your list isn’t that long, time absolutely flies by when you’re trying to complete it.
Never went to the Beanpot? Whoops, you’re out of luck. Wanted to build a Mod snow fort but never got around to it? Looks like coming back for grad school and being an RA in the Mods is the only way you’ll have the chance now. Just like you don’t want to regret missing out on spending time with your friends, you also don’t want to miss out on the experiences that make being at BC so awesome. Or else you’ll come back for each class reunion feeling like an idiot.
Any people who say they came to college without the intent of landing a higher-paying job than they could without a degree are lying, straight up. Nothing is wrong with wanting to make money and your parents would probably be pretty upset that you weren’t using their investment to better yourself financially when you no longer could depend on them.
With that all said, your grades can’t really do too much for you at this point. They might’ve gotten you a job or admittance to grad school already, and if not, you’re probably aiming to head down one of those two paths before second semester grades come out anyway. If it’s the latter path, you’ve already sent your applications in and there’s nothing to do but sit back and wait. And if it’s the former, well, all I can say is to get on your networking grind.
As someone who’s dropped as many resumes electronically via EagleLink as the next guy, I can tell you that nothing is as valuable in terms of landing a job as face-to-face connections. If you don’t personally know the person looking at your resume or know someone who knows that person (or that person’s boss), a 3.8 GPA may not even get you a first-round interview. So rather than stay in studying to boost that number which nobody’s reading, hit up company info sessions and stop by the Career Center. Otherwise that GPA may not be worth much money when you graduate.
And if you’ve already snagged a job or gotten into grad school – what’s the point stressing out about exams that can’t really help you anyway? Here’s hoping you picked a major that you enjoy and don’t hate spending time in class learning about the subject, because at this point you’re learning solely for the sake of learning.
Regardless of how you feel about the YOLO meme, it’s an undeniable fact that you do actually only live once. YOLO doesn’t just mean having as much fun as possible, it also means that you’re going to make irreparable mistakes and you’re going to have to learn to deal with them. And as one of my professors loves to remind us, college is the last time that you can make some of these mistakes without terrible, terrible consequences.
I’ve also had more professors than I can count who’ve said that the most important learning we do at BC comes outside the classroom. We don’t come here just to learn about history or finance; we come here to learn how to live independently and to grow into whomever we’re going to be when we become “real people.” Senioritis is essentially the realization that learning to become a “real person” has little to do with the classroom anymore.
The stereotypical college experience involves a lot of late night discussions and heart-to-hearts with people you may not even talk to within a year of graduating. If you’ve missed out on this stereotype, I feel sorry for you. No 22-year-olds can figure out what truly matters to them without being able to listen to and bounce ideas off other people in similar situations.
Your values, your goals and the decisions you make when you leave school are all going to be based off these conversations to some degree. They might cut into your studying and affect your grades in the short term, but isn’t sacrificing an A on a bio exam worth it if you realize that deep down you don’t even want to go to med school? Or that the person you’ve been in a long-distance relationship with for three years might not actually be the one? Real talk: these questions may be the most important you ever have to ask yourself.
You only get one chance to do the last semester of college right, and the only way to do that is to take to heart our time-honored creed. The phrase that has defined our generation and will continue to do so for the rest of our lives:
THE MOTTO. YOLO.
Follow Robert Rossi as he goes all YOLO on his last semester @RVRossi.