Why senior year is the best even if you only get 75% of it

An illustration of college graduates throwing their graduation caps into the air
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Senior year at UC Berkeley is unlike any other. For many, it’s a year spent learning, connecting and growing alongside the best and brightest. It’s also a year spent hanging out with friends, suffering intense “senioritis” and enjoying everything that Berkeley has to offer. For current graduating seniors, however, senior year on campus was only seven months long. Cut short because of COVID-19, the class of 2020 is missing out on the final months of our time at UC Berkeley. While this is devastating in many ways, reflecting on my senior year has made me realize that it is still, without a doubt, my favorite year of college. In honor of our last week of classes, we at the Clog have compiled five reasons why senior year is the best, even if you only get to enjoy 75% of it.

Your college friendships

By senior year, your friends from your freshman year dorm have turned into your game day group. Your lab partner from fall 2016 has become your new emergency contact. Your pledge class members are now your roommates and best friends. Those are the kinds of friendships that aren’t formed overnight; those are the kinds of friendships that you get to appreciate and enjoy during your senior year. Your college experience is largely influenced by the people around you, and by senior year, you will have surrounded yourself with people that make your experience the best. Obviously, you still continue to make new friends, but old friendships are valuable and by senior year, you’ll have many. Spending your senior year (or 75% of it) with the friends you made at school is priceless.

Your interesting elective classes

For many, senior year is the first year where you can truly indulge in the great electives UC Berkeley has to offer. This is the year where many choose to enroll in “Wealth and Poverty” with Robert Reich, for example. Senior year is full of capstone classes and ones that are catered to your specific interests. Rather than taking another core class for Haas, you can take classes like “Brand Management and Strategy” or “Leadership and Personal Development.” As a media studies major, you may finally have room to take “Virtual Communities and Social Media.” Senior year is generally when you’ll get enough freedom to enroll in the classes you’ve waited four years to take. Even if your senior year was cut short, you still get to enjoy learning about your favorite topics from your favorite professors.

You’re legal

Not that this is what senior year is about or anything, but this is the year when nearly everyone is 21! Berkeley’s favorite bars like Triple Rock, Kingfish, Tap Haus and more are filled with people your age. You no longer have to resort to attending house parties or going to Piedmont Avenue; going out is finally an easy thing to do. Everyone ends up at the same places, and you don’t have to worry about jumping from place to place (unless the line at Kingfish is more than 30 minutes long). You can also attend Triple Rock and Kip’s trivia nights on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, even if you realize you’re not a human Shazam. Berkeley nightlife is a must-do for all undergrads, and senior year is the time where you can indulge in the bar scene the most.

You’re one foot out the door

Although this is a scary truth for some, the real world is right around the corner for graduating seniors. We are just weeks away from leaving formal education to enter the chaotic world of post-grad life. We’re all one foot out the door and focusing on our plans after college, yet we still have the luxury to revel in our free time. Senior year reminds us all to take time to be grateful for the lifestyles we live. While many parts of senior year feel bitter, these moments of appreciation are truly sweet.

Your sense of community

This perk relates closely to the first; your sense of community within the UC Berkeley ecosystem is the strongest during your senior year. Freshman year is all about joining communities and finding clubs or groups that make a giant school feel a little bit smaller. It can be intimidating and confusing to find these groups, but doing so will change the course of your college career entirely. Sophomore and junior year is about leveraging those communities through adventures, networking or simply building friendships. Senior year is the beautiful culmination of the previous three; your relationships are built, you are fully grounded in your experiences and you are ready to propel from your Berkeley community into a new one.

This is not the senior year any of us imagined. Many of the milestones we have been expecting for four years are suddenly not happening, and none of it is within our control. With that being said, this year still outshines the other years of college for the reasons mentioned previously. I am incredibly grateful to enjoy my senior year at UC Berkeley, even if only 75% of it was on campus.

Contact Brookey Villanueva at [email protected].