Goodbye Alabama: Advice From UA Seniors

With only about two weeks of college left for UA’s seniors, it’s time to look back on the past four years.

By Deven Feldstein
Features Reporter

As classes wind down and finals begin, some seniors are reflecting on their time at the Capstone and offering advice to younger students about what they have learned and what they wish they would have known.

Jill Holloway, a senior majoring in journalism, said that college makes you become much more independent. Now she says she doesn’t have to rely as heavily on her parents or friends and is more confident in herself.

“Not relying on your parents or people you know teaches you so much about yourself and helps you grow,” she said. “You’ll learn you have so much to offer that you never knew about because you’ve never been forced to discover it.”

Holloway also said that incoming students shouldn’t worry too much about sorority recruitment. Rush can be one of the most stressful things a girl will go through during college at Alabama. However, everyone in a sorority will tell you that at the end of the day it doesn’t matter about reputations.

“Looking back, I would tell myself that a sorority and the reputation they have doesn’t define me and that I have a lot to offer regardless of what happens during recruitment,” she said.

As for advice on academics and classes, students agreed that it’s okay to change your major and not know what you want to do.

“If after a year or two you don’t love your major, don’t be hesitant to change it,” said Rachel Tolleson, a senior from Huntsville, Alabama, majoring in public relations. “You’re paying a lot of money to be educated at ‘bama, so you might as well study something you enjoy.”

Tolleson also said to make sure to walk to your classes before classes start so you know where you are going.

“Walk to all of your classes prior to the first day of school so you won’t be in a rush. Despite it being your first day as a freshman, some professors aren’t so forgiving” she said.

But then again, going late is better than not going at all.

Holloway suggests spending a summer abroad or wandering around a new city while doing an internship. Students who traveled abroad during college said that it definitely changed their outlook on life and opened them up to new cultures and experiences.

Senior Rebekah Simmons, who studies healthcare administration at UA, added to be wary of taking 8 a.m. classes and that Friday classes can be rough.

“8 a.m.’s and Friday classes might not seem bad, but they definitely are once classes actually start and swap season starts” she said.

College is really about time management, which admittedly a lot of students struggle with. Tolleson said it’s important to get your school work done, but don’t sacrifice having fun and experiencing what Alabama has to offer.

“Procrastinating is very bad, however, when making choices in life, don’t neglect to live,” Tolleson said. “Go to band parties, go the lake when your friends ask, and go to UA athletic events. Just get your school work done beforehand. It’s hard to juggle it all, but you will figure it out.”

Be careful spending money. College really teaches you the value of dollar.

“$300 of Dining Dollars may sound like a lot of money, but realistically it only gets you 15 pizzas from Domino’s,” Tolleson said. “Be conscientious!”

Or, it gets you about 60 drinks from Starbucks.

Many seniors agreed that looking back they are totally different than the freshmen that showed up at Alabama four years ago, not knowing what to expect or what the future would hold.

“I learned so much changes during your four years in college,” Simmons said. “I’m no where near being the same person I was when I first came here.”

Also, don’t be afraid of your friends changing throughout college. This is a time for you to change, grow and learn more about yourself. Some friends will stay around, and some won’t, but that’s okay.

“I have completely different friends than I did when I first got here, and my plan for my life and future has definitely changed multiple times throughout the years,” Simmons said. “Because of the consistent change, I learned that sometimes you have to just relax and let life happen. Things have a way of working out the way they are supposed to.”

One things for sure, college goes by so fast. Next thing you know you’ll be ready to walk across the stage too. Embrace change, being out of your comfort zone, and enjoy it while it lasts.