Fourth year is a time of joy and celebration, for soon we will receive our degrees and find our greater purpose and role in society. This year will be spent enjoying our youth, making lasting memories and finishing strong academically. We have made it this far, and the goal is to make this year better than the previous three. While there is nothing wrong with doing any of the aforementioned, there are important lessons to remember before setting our expectations high.
I’ve heard more Fourth years than not complaining about case interviews, salary negotiations and relocation. The stress of job applications, interviews and the terrifying abyss we call “the future” weighs heavily on us, and we lose sight of what gives us joy. We base our vocation on what we believe we should do, not on what we are called to do. This constant planning gives us little time to live in the present, and as we continue to have our heads in the future, we miss opportunities to be happy now. Finding our niche is important and we will all eventually determine where our joy meets the greatest hungers of the world, but we can’t all force ourselves to discover it right now. The pressure we put on ourselves can muffle God’s voice and dim the joy from our hearts. It is important to remember that Fourth year is a great year and worthy of celebration, but it is by no means when we figure everything out.
It’s also important to remember that Fourth year is not the peak of ours lives. The pressure we put on ourselves to make Fourth year the “best year yet” or to make our last year of college “the best of our lives” is a standard that should be avoided. We do not need to have made our mark or made a difference by our Fourthyear. We do not have to feel like we have it all figured out and that we need to have an excessive amount of fun, because everyone tells us this is IT. This is a beginning, not an end, which is why we call it “fourth year” and not “senior year”. Our education never ceases, and neither do our experiences. We are in one season of our lives and have so much more time to find out where our calling is. Just listen and pray, and lose the anxiety of making this the best year of your life, because as long as you have joy and know God’s love, you will find your purpose.