Students should make the best out of college

After four years in college, seniors should be looking forward to a career and a new life outside of college classes.

I, like other seniors, am looking forward to these things, but unlike many of my peers, I won’t wear the purple gown, walk across Daniel-Meyer Coliseum and shake Chancellor Boschini’s hand until December.

I always thought I had a set plan for my life, including leaving college in four years. But then, halfway through my junior year as I was growing more and more unsure of my original choice of major, I took a leap of faith and changed it.

I knew all along that it would take an extra semester, but seeing my friends making their post-graduation plans sometimes made me feel like they were all officially becoming adults and I was still some little kid playing grown-up.

Looking back, if I could change anything about college, I don’t think I would. For the first time this semester, I realized that everything in my life happened at just the right time. Coincidence or providence – you make your choice. I would have never had the experiences I had this semester if I had stayed in my original major or even changed it earlier.

My father has a saying he likes to encourage me with: “Life is a marathon, not a sprint.” If you’re also about to begin that extra semester or year for whatever reason, stop looking ahead and start focusing on right now. It’s better to develop the strength for what we deal with now than making our lives all about getting from point A to point B.

For those taking the “victory lap,” think of the old cliche as just exactly that. Find opportunities to do things you’ve always been meaning to do but never got around to before. And if your friends are all moving on, think of this as your opportunity to mentor incoming freshmen – they are in the same place you were once.

Even with all the classes and social drama, your college years are probably going to be the best years of your life. For most of us, there is no other time in our lives when we get to enjoy the privileges of being out on our own for the first time without the responsibilities of having a full-time career and fully supporting ourselves.

Finally, if nothing else, those of us who get to stay for an additional semester finally get to see the end result of all the Campus Commons construction. That alone has to be worth the extra time.

Valerie Hannon is a senior news-editorial journalism major from Allen, Texas.