The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The reality of being a senior

The ups and downs that come with graduating
Photo by Alaina Steinmetz
My first day of kindergarten.

As the first part of my senior year comes to a close, I sit and reflect on everything that has happened in the past four years. A matter of fact,in the past 16 years. 

Everyone always asks about what I plan to do after graduation and the reality of it is, I just do not know. Unfortunately, that is the reality for most seniors. No one prepares us for the transition of there being no more school. 

No more classrooms and lectures, no more professors and no more math homework. It is something I have always wanted: the freedom of no school. But is that something I am really ready for? The answer to that is unknown. 

But it is more than just school ending. It is everything that has to come with it. 

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Packing up my college apartment (the best apartment ever) and saying goodbye to the roomies, knowing when my last moments on campus will be and not being around everyone in a school setting are all just the realities of graduating. 

Reflecting on the people I have met over the years has been the most emotional journey of all. I truly believe people are in your life for a reason; some stay and some go. Some are there for all your ups and downs while others are more side characters. 

You learn a lot about yourself and who you are by those you surround yourself with. 

I switched my major halfway through college, and while I was nervous beyond belief, it was the best decision I have ever made. Because of this, I have met the most wonderful people and gone on some amazing adventures. 

Change is scary. It is a hard pill to swallow. For some of us, the hardest change is moving out. For me, it is saying goodbye to the people I see every day. I have grown so dependent on just seeing their faces; it will be weird not to have that. 

College is more than just homework, exams and those 25-page term papers. It is everything that happens in between. From those hour-long talks at Hilltop Recreation Center to running home slightly too intoxicated from Water Street. 

We all have a crazy Water Street story. 

With winter break approaching, I have to live with some of these “fears” sooner rather than later — saying goodbye to those graduating and those studying abroad, unsure of when I will see them again. 

One thing I have learned over time is that it is a “see you later” and not a “goodbye.” This goes for people and life in general. The most important things you will see again, whether in this life or another. 

Senior year is challenging yet beautiful. It is the year of “lasts” but also a time to reflect what you learned. Over the past 16 years, I’ve learned school is important, but it is those you go through it with who are the most important of all. 

To my friends, lovers, ex-lovers, teachers, professors, enemies and acquaintances I want to say thank you. You have all shaped my life into what it is today no matter the circumstances. 

With one last semester of schooling left, I hope it is the best one yet … and that I figure out what I am going to do for the rest of my life. 

Steinmetz can be reached at [email protected]. 

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About the Contributor
Alaina Steinmetz
Alaina Steinmetz, Multimedia Editor
Alaina Steinmetz is a fourth-year environmental geology student and this is her second semester at The Spectator. In her free time, she likes to drink Coca Cola and be outside.

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