By Khadijah Khogeer

Monday was a bittersweet day for seniors — myself included — because it marked the start of our last semester at Boston University. For many of us, this is the end of our journey through the education system.

I have been in school for the majority of my life, so a big part of my identity revolves around being a student. I’m left with a lot of mixed feelings about closing this important chapter of my life. Only now am I starting to grasp that I won’t experience a first day of classes again.

Throughout winter break, I had time to decide whether I should stay remote or travel back to Boston for my last semester. Although I initially planned to stay in the comfort of my family home, the fear of missing out on the few months left of college was too strong to ignore. I was determined to return to campus, so I booked a flight just before classes began. I arrived Sunday night after two long-haul flights and a nine-hour layover all the way from my home country of Egypt.

And although I have no regrets about returning, my last first day turned out differently than I wanted it to because of COVID-19 restrictions. I got tested first thing in the morning and attended my only class of the day online, which is otherwise a typical college day in the past year.

Most of the bittersweet feelings about ending my senior year stem from the safety protocols that have transformed the college experience. I will self-quarantine for a week, which means I won’t meet up with my friends or wander around campus. Four years ago, when I first stepped foot on campus, I did not expect my college career to change this drastically.

If you are a senior, you may also be experiencing these complex feelings about graduating and missing out on a “normal” senior year, including spring break and (possibly) a normal graduation. I decided to make peace with our reality and commit to my New Year’s resolution to enjoy the last semester without thinking about the what-ifs.

Compared to my first day of Fall semester — which I wrote about in one of my first posts for the blog — I am much more optimistic about the future now than I was then. Much has changed since September: elections, vaccines, etc. Regardless, I wish all us graduating seniors a great final semester and hope we can end our four-year college journey on a positive note.