With everyone arriving on campus for Welcome Week, it seems like a fresh start for most students. While first-years navigate college life for the first time, seniors are starting their last year and coming to the somewhat terrifying realization that they're at the beginning of the end.
And for us on The Daily Targum editorial board, we're already more than halfway through our tenure. With our time on the Targum and at Rutgers quickly approaching its bittersweet end, some of our staff would like to reflect on our years here and the fun we've had.
Astha Lakhankar, managing editor: "As cliche as it sounds, the past three years have flown by at terrifying speeds, and part of me wishes I could have spent more time appreciating each moment for what it was. Still, I'm so grateful for my time at Rutgers, the people I've met and the opportunities I've been fortunate enough to receive.
"My biggest piece of advice to anyone here is to explore your every interest — college is one of the few places where you can try many different things without high stakes or pressure. Even if you're only mildly interested in something, this is the time to delve into it!
"Enjoy watching a sport? Try playing it through an intramural program. Like to sing but only in your shower? Join a singing group or be part of a musical. Love to write but need an outlet? A certain school newspaper might be a great fit for you. Even if you end up not sticking with something, the fact that you tried is what truly matters."
Ellis Gordon, head sports editor: "Picking my favorite memory at Rutgers is hard because I have had so many great memories. A lot of my best memories, though, are little things like playing an intramural sport, going to events, hanging out with friends and taking a few interesting classes.
"For my senior year, I'm looking forward to doing all of those things for one last year — as well as basketball games, Rutgers Day and, of course, Hot Dog Day. I think the best thing about college is it gives you the freedom to put yourself out there and try a bunch of things you like."
Caroline Serpico, co-copy editor: "Given that my first year at Rutgers started entirely online, from my childhood bedroom, it feels a little hypocritical for me to give concrete advice on how to expertly navigate your college experience. But likely (hopefully not in a pandemic way), your college experience will not at all be what you thought it would.
"Life at this stage is nothing if not unpredictable. New friend groups may fizzle out entirely, or you might realize your major is all wrong for you. As you encounter these curveballs, though, and inevitably compare yourself to others deflecting them better than you, my advice is to look toward the little things.
"Some of my fondest memories at Rutgers were made during seemingly marginal moments, like while I sat on my porch in the morning or caught up with friends over coffee. Finding anything to be 100 percent reliable may be difficult, but simple, little moments will always be around you, waiting for you to capture them and make them your own."
Amanda Clark, co-copy editor: "Growing up, I was told college would go by in a blink of an eye. I never believed it until now. It feels so unreal that this is my last year here because I feel like there's still so much to do.
"Even if you think you have it all figured out or are just here for classes, take the advice people give you and make sure you immerse yourself in absolutely everything Rutgers has to offer. I'm so thankful to all the people I've met here as they made this temporary place feel like home.
"On top of all the interactions I've been grateful to encounter, the opportunities that have blossomed for me due to my campus involvement have also changed my life. I truly couldn't think of a better place to spend my education."
Lena Stoeckert, inside beat editor: "It's cliche, but my favorite part of college has been making the friends I have, and I'm most looking forward to getting back to campus to be with them, drinking McDonald's Dr. Peppers on the apartment floor. Since I'm a senior, I'm also looking forward to taking all of the fun classes I've been saving until I finished my degree requirements.
"My biggest advice is to get your degree credits done as soon as you can. Make a vague schedule of when you're going to take your classes so you can save all the interesting ones Rutgers offers for an easy, breezy senior year. It's like a reward."
My Huynh, social media editor: "And it's a wrap! I truly cannot believe that it's my last year here as an undergrad. I still have one more year in a Masters program, but it is technically my last. All the friends and memories I have made during the last three years have been the most influential to me, and I cannot wait to make some more during the fall.
"With the mindset of having nothing to lose since my first year, that is one piece of advice I would give first years, too. Rutgers is pretty big, and with that comes a lot of opportunities. So definitely take the chance because it could be something great!"
Hopefully, first-years reading this senior reflection can take our stories and advice and make the best out of it! If you're just starting out, you're in for a rollercoaster journey for the next few years. It'll be challenging, exciting, terrifying, something completely new and oftentimes physically and mentally exhausting. And you'll enjoy every minute of it! Welcome to Rutgers!