Fresh Perspective | Junior year reflection

Fresh Perspective is a biweekly blog about typical college experiences made strange by the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Julia Smeltzer, Senior Staff Writer

Well, here we are. My last blog for the year. I can say I made it to the end. As I was brainstorming what I wanted this last blog to be about, I was thinking about writing a super cheerful and fluffy piece about how much I loved my junior year of college. But that wouldn’t be 100% honest of me to do. To be honest, this year was hard to get through.

My very first blog post for this year was about how junior year just feels so different, and as I’ve reflected on why that is throughout this year, I think I finally have a pretty good idea. This has been the first year where everything just feels real. I am walking the very thin line between staying a young and naive college kid who wants to have fun 24/7 and being on the cusp of becoming a grown and responsible adult ready to tackle the real world.

External factors such as my classes, work and relationships have not changed much throughout this year. I have all of my friends, old and new, that I am so grateful for. I know how to get through stressful weeks full of heavy coursework and a crazy schedule. I’ve gotten through anxiety-driven presentations and experiences. Nothing in that aspect has been a real struggle for me. This year, my struggle was coming from something internal.

This morning, I woke up and allowed myself to just lay in bed before going to my 3 p.m. class. Call it lazy or unproductive, but I genuinely had no motivation to leave my bed. It then got me thinking about what in my life makes me passionate and makes me want to get out of bed, and not that many things came to my mind.

I obviously have had great experiences and made endless memories with my friends on and off campus, and I don’t want to take away from those amazing moments, but I realized I am not experiencing the joy and happiness in my life that I want to, and I think the cause is a major burnout.

It is expected for college kids to have little motivation during this time of the year, but my burnout is coming from something other than academics. I feel as if I have a lack of passion for life and that I am missing out on things that would truly set my soul on fire in a good way. I want to travel, go to concerts, lay on a beach somewhere, try a new hobby and more. I want something to make me feel alive. I’m just not sure how to find that feeling, or if it is something that comes to me naturally.

I’m sure after the semester is over, I will feel a little bit more free and alive, but I know it wouldn’t be authentic to come on here and say that this year was the best year of my life because it really wasn’t.

However, as the next time I write a blog will be at the start of my senior year, there are things to look forward to. For example, I will be the next digital manager for The Pitt News, and I will be interning at a marketing firm. However, next year is the start of the end. In just a short year, I’ll be in a cap and gown, closing out this chapter of my life. It is going to happen sooner than I thought, but that is inevitable.

Thank you for following me along not just this past year, but for the past three years of my time here at Pitt. This blog has watched me go through all the highs and lows, and I couldn’t be more grateful for having this platform to express issues that matter most to me. The next time you hear from me will be the start of my final year of college, and maybe by then, I’ll have found that one thing that makes me feel alive. I’ll keep you posted.