Advice to Seniors From a College Academic Advisor
By Priscilla Beth Baker
I wanted to reach out to all of you seniors about how COVID-19 is specifically affecting you, the Class of 2020. I hate to use a colloquialism as an English major and teacher, but there’s no way around saying that this sucks beyond belief for you all more than most. In my many sleepless nights this past week, I have been reflecting on my own senior year at Penn State – where I was and what I was doing and who I was with. It seems insurmountable to conceive of missing out on all those moments and memories that I carry with me to this day.
But here’s the thing – for you, these moments and memories are rooted in all the moments and memories preceding them in all the years you have spent here. They don’t exist in isolation. Honestly, so much of senior spring is tinged with sadness and anxiety at the best of times: “Will I get a job? Will this be the last time I go to my favorite restaurant or dance at this club? Will I ever do this hike or visit this beach again with these exact people? Will I find friends like these when I move after I graduate?” So many what-ifs and unknowns to the point that it’s often hard to truly enjoy those last couple of months and suck the marrow out of that experience. And then it’s graduation and you find yourself thinking, “I wish I could just rewind and slow down and suck the marrow out all over again. Why didn’t I do that?”
Seniors, the irony is that now we are all being asked to do just that –SLOW DOWN. Take notice. Pay attention. Be mindful. Take that to heart and let it guide you.
Your experience this spring will be different to be sure, but there will be experiences you have now that will equal if not surpass what you might have had before all of this, that will shape and define who you later are. You might not be able to see that now, but I guarantee it’s true.
I guess what I am saying is, you’ve invested wisely in choosing to educate yourselves at your home institutions, in joining the departments you joined, in the clubs and organizations you’ve become involved with, in the numerous relationships you’ve built. Nothing can take all of that away from you, not even COVID-19.
Priscilla Beth Baker currently works as an academic advisor at a large university and has two college-aged sons of her own. She is also a former high school English teacher and educational writer for Prestwick House Publishing.
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