By Lauren Muliawan || Contributing Writer

“So, what are your plans after graduation?” “I’m looking at grad school, maybe heading back to Scotland. We shall see!” **Insert nervous laughter**

Dear reader, can you let me be honest for a second? I have no idea what I am doing once I graduate. And can I tell you a secret? It doesn’t terrify me at all. Why should it? What I do after graduation is not going to be the end all be all for me, or for you.

It’s going to be an adventure, absolutely. The lives we have carved out into this familiar landscape will shift. My best friend will not be down the hall, and there will not be new and interesting lectures to attend every night, or parties to frequent. It will just be me, my (supposed) wits, and the world.

I know it will be scary at times, but I am not terrified of what comes next. Because everything must end, and college has reached its end point. I have had the most amazing opportunities on this campus. I have led a house government (somehow I got roped in twice), I studied in Scotland and got to intern in Parliament, I served on multiple school committees, I joined a sorority, I declared a double major, I made friends who I know will follow me through the rest of my life, and I made myself a home. A home that I will be sad to leave, but one that I will carry with me wherever I go.

I was talking with my roommates recently about how people approach senior year. It’s either the “best year of your life” or “complete as many activities as possible.” That seems first sad, and second awful. I would like to think that I am not peaking at 21. Sure, it’s been a great year,  but there is a lot of life left to live (and my grandmother looks like she’s living the dream at 92 years young, so….).

Seniors, please don’t join all of those clubs and committees. Join some; please, still involve yourselves in campus life,  but do not by any means try to pack each waking moment with an activity. Because we also need to be transitioning out and letting those younger than us rise up to take on our roles. Plus, you will be so consumed that soon you will be sitting in your cap and gown waiting to shake Dr. Porterfield’s hand, wondering where the time went.

I am not suggesting that those of you with plans or high hopes for senior year are wrong. Not by any means. What I hope to provoke in you though, is to enjoy this moment and be confident in whatever direction you are headed. 

It’s okay to not know what happens next, or to know exactly what path you are taking.

Be okay with that knowledge (I am totally going to rock living in my childhood home, mostly because my dog and I can rewatch every episode of Parks and Recreation).

It’s okay to approach senior year at whatever pace you choose. Just, please, stop every once and a while and truly take it all in. Because senior year is about reflecting on how far you’ve come — not how much is left to do.