By Madeline Morren

Senior year of college is nothing short of an emotional rollercoaster. My days seem to be filled with people asking me my plans after graduation like I know the answer. Nervous breakdowns are more common than a cold, and I stress just about as much as I breathe.  

But as the end of my final academic semester creeps closer, I think it’s important to take a step back from all the thoughts of the future and pay homage to the past four years of my life.

As a senior at Baylor University, I look back at my experiences, the people I’ve met and the lessons I learned, and realize I wouldn’t trade them for the world. But I can’t help but wonder how my college experience could’ve been different if I knew then what I know now.

Here are some pieces of advice I would give my wide-eyed 18-year-old self:

Save fast food for the weekend

I fell victim to the freshman fifteen – I’ll admit it. It’s hard not to when there’s a smorgasbord of fast food right across the street from campus. It took me about two years to find the best way to get a handle on my fast food addiction, and that’s to only eat it on the weekends. Not only will you be cutting down your calorie count, you’ll also save money!

Go to more movies

This may seem counterintuitive with the whole idea of saving money, but this is a valuable piece of advice for all movie lovers like myself. Go see as many movies as you can in theaters while you’re in Waco, because it’s the cheapest movie experience you will ever get. You have to take advantage of that five dollar student discount while you can, because in this day and age, movie tickets run for no less than 12 dollars  –  and that’s without the 15 dollar popcorn and soda combo.  

Get outside and explore Waco

When I first moved to Waco, it took me a solid semester to venture beyond the Baylor bubble. It was before Chip and Joanna’s revitalization of downtown and everyone thought Waco was just a rest stop between Austin and Dallas. I lived here for a little over a year before I had the courage to explore the hidden gems of Waco, and I am kicking myself for not doing it sooner. I’m certain there are several hidden treasures I have yet to discover, so don’t be afraid to get to know your new home.

Make as many mistakes as you can

Although mistakes are a part of life, I think the more mistakes you make in college the better. When you’re in college you’re in this weird limbo of being independent while also having a very strong support system behind you like parents, professors and advisors. The more mistakes you learn from in college, the less likely you are to make them in the adult world, where things like your job are on the line.

Don’t base your decisions on other’s expectations

I think this is the most important thing for a freshman to understand. It’s true, what they say, that your time in college flies by. So, it’s important for you to fill your time with things that you love and you’re interested in. If you worry too much about the expectations of others, you miss out on things that make you truly happy.