Lessons I Learned First Semester Senior Year

The other night, I was at dinner with some friends and we were talking about the myth of senior year because the number one thing people said to us this summer?

"Enjoy your year. It'll be great."

We're not disputing that--it's been a blast so far. We've established our friend group, we've (seriously) upgraded our living conditions, we're all 21, we feel more and more like "adults" while still staying safely in college. It's a good place to be.

But it's also hard.

We're in this weird transitional place: poised on the edge of something so much bigger than anything we've known so far. For the first time, (most of) our lives are about to shift out of the school-summer pattern and into something along the lines of real life. It's stressful. We've had four fantastic years with some of the best friends anyone could ask for and we're all about to go our separate ways. How do you handle that?

So it's been a transitional semester, to say the least. And I've learned a lot. 

1. Be with people who make you feel important.

I want to talk about this forever. I mentioned back here how I've had to work to see my friends this semester. There are people I see consistently and people I see intermittently. The biggest factor I've noticed about my consistent, core group of friends: they make me feel important. They're the ones I'll call in the middle of the night, the ones I'll celebrate big news with, the ones I'll share secrets with. When you have limited time--spend it with the ones who add value to your life, not subtract from it.

Towards that end--if you miss someone, tell them. Nobody is a mind reader and chances are, they're missing you too. Some of my best relationships this semester were renewed by a simple text that says something along the lines of "thinking about you, miss you--let's catch up".

2. Working out changes my entire mindset.

Early in the semester, when my anxiety was flaring back up, I was on the phone with my mom and she said "have you tried working out?". ...no.

Nutrition helps the way I feel physically but working out/the endorphins completely changes the way I feel mentally. It doesn't have to be long--all my favorite programs (like the 21 Day Fix) are all 30 minutes long--or particularly strenuous. But wow, the effects are huge

3. Don't be afraid to be alone.

Being alone doesn't equal loneliness. I'm learning to be comfortable with spending time by myself. One of my spring plans is to take myself to a movie date.

4. Sometimes homework isn't the most important thing.

I am painfully type-A and it has taken me a long time to stop obsessing over school and grades, but this is something that I definitely tried to keep in mind this semester. It also helped motivate me to work harder when I had the time! I studied a lot and read when I wasn't studying, so I ended up making Dean's List as a result. But there were also times where I had to simply just take a step back--drink a glass of wine and journal it out, find a productive break, go to bed early, drive home for the weekend, fly to Detroit to see my best friend... (Or take Andromeda for a walk outside.)

She's still getting used to the leash...

5. Lean into the positive.

So much of my mood, productivity, life depend on my mindset and the environment around me, so I actively work to keep that a positive space. I scheduled my weekly meeting with my Beachbody coach/mentor Anna for Friday afternoons this semester. That way, I could block off the time before our call for lunch and have a solid amount of time to decompress before diving into weekend homework. Our calls always leave me feeling so uplifted and inspired that it made me want to work. :)

This also showed up in countless other areas of my life and I cannot recommend it enough. 

There were times this semester when I could have done more or pushed myself harder, but without a doubt, I'm proud of what I got done and what I learned. 7 semesters down, 1 to go. 

Maybe I'll finally get this right.