The Weekly Tiger: The Impossibility of Senior Year

Some of my most loyal fans might have noticed that there wasn’t a column in last week’s issue and I must apologize, the craziness of academia got the best of me. But, missing last week’s publication got me thinking about how ridiculous second semester senior year truly is.

As an underclassmen, I heard a lot about how second semester senior year was a cake walk because most people just took leftover general education classes that they held off for so long. Boy was I wrong. Our very own Editor-in-Chief, Clay Waidelich (’20), is a perfect example of sleepless kinds of schedules second semester seniors have. Not only is he student teaching, waking up before the sun rises in the morning to teach until 3 p.m., but he’s also writing an English honors thesis. The honors thesis in the English department is no small feat. The project is a yearlong endeavor, instead of just one semester, and is a minimum of 50 pages long. Not to mention the countless hours spent pouring over secondary sources to build your argument. I have no idea how he does it. 

Another aspect of second semester senior year that no one seems to take into consideration when warning underclassmen is the time spent applying to graduate schools, studying for the GRE, MCAT or LSAT and applying to jobs. It’s hard to dedicate so much time to something that has such a delayed reward. When you work on homework, you’re rewarded just a few days later by being ready and well-prepared for class. When you study for the MCAT, for example, you spent hours upon hours reviewing material and reading study books on top of your regular homework for the night but you don’t see any payoff for your hard work studying until months later and, even then, the rewarding feeling isn’t nearly as impactful. 

But wait, there’s more. Your senior year thesis and capstone take a lot of time too. I’m writing an English thesis as well as taking a 400-level research class, which is essentially my capstone for Psychology. Both projects will take all semester and are essentially operating on the same timeline. How neat is that.

In an attempt to prevent this column from being too rant driven, I wanted to warn underclassmen about second semester senior year specifically. First semester senior year almost doesn’t feel real and you’ll want to soak it all in before second semester zooms by, but I highly advise that you do at least some work towards your post graduate life. Take the standardized test that your desired profession requires, apply to graduate schools, even if you only apply to a few and you’re not really all that sure you’d go to those schools anyways, apply anyways. Staring at a lengthy to-do list at the beginning of your last semester at Witt is extremely daunting and something I’ve cried over many times already. 

But don’t worry, you’ll sleep when you’re dead.

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