The Last Semester

In the middle of my final summer as a student, I can’t help but think that my time at Illinois State nears the beginning of the end.

Granted, I’m trying to put things in perspective: my last year stepping into The Vidette every day, my last Pub Wednesday, my last hoorah living with my roommates for the last four years, etc.

Of these things and many more that I will miss about ISU, I tend to reflect before things conclude – with anything really.

Senior year is a biggie. With one foot out the door as the other hangs on for dear life, it’s scary to think about – the real world that is.

It’s like this momentum that’s been built up over the course of your entire life, ultimately culminating with this sense of “oh my god, I have to have my life figured out sooner rather than later.”

College feels like that for all of us, I assume. It’s a constant reminder that this won’t last, so cherish it while you have it.

Entering my senior year, I’m more than excited to continue and cherish my remaining days as a ISU student, but also am accepting the harsh reality of its finality.

Regardless, expectations are better received on the cusp of ambition. That is the reason we come to college in the first place, right?

Ambition defies the odds, as it consistently asks, “who do you want to be when it’s all said and done?”

I recently talked with former Editor-in-Chief Becky Fletcher about expectations, and within our conversation, I found myself just wanting to work, ready to join society as an official contributing member ... finally.

Work has taught me that I’m more than ready to accept that change as it comes quicker than most things in life. “These four years fly by,” I’ve heard people say repeatedly. I can honestly say they really have, faster than I thought they would.

You always wish you could make time slow down or find some sort of way to freeze it. But the only true way to do so is live in the moment you are in.

It’s not about who’s texting you, not about how many people like your tweets or filming some video at a concert with your friends.

I feel like people get caught up in capturing the moment rather than fully enjoying it – senseless to their surroundings, focusing on remembering it through a screen.

However, that’s just the world we live in now. I try to avoid that, staying off my cell phone when I’m not at work, focusing on what’s in front of me instead of what’s in my hands.

You make a lot of memories in four years, meet plenty of new people and change so drastically that you don’t seem to realize it until you truly look back and reflect.

Change is always a good thing in my mind, fear of doing or trying something new is always a good thing. If you weren’t scared, it wouldn’t be worth doing in the first place.

Fear of moving on is what it’s supposed to feel like, I tell myself.

For all those who know me, and to seniors who are looking forward to their last year at Illinois State, my advice is try to live in the moment. Try to soak up everything this place has to offer before we’re all just names under a year in the Alumni Center.

Leave your mark in some sort of way. Sometimes the smallest of impacts mean the most in seemingly irrelevant situations.

To the seniors, what’s going to be the thing that defines us as a class?

We have five weeks to think about it.

JONATHAN BARLAS is Editor in Chief of The Vidette. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @janveselybarlas

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