hey say college will be the best four years of your life. To this, we agree. Without a doubt, college is definitely...a time. 

Graduating college means surviving finals week 8 times, filling your resume with countless internships and extracurriculars, and, in the process of doing both, likely pulling several all-nighters. For the seniors who have just graduated, the past four years probably feel less like the best time of their lives and more like a fever dream. 

It’s difficult to describe exactly what happens in between the time when you move into your dorm room freshman year and when you throw your cap in the air on graduation day. Fortunately, when we don’t have the right words to piece our thoughts together, we can always rely on memes. What’s even better, describing the best four years of your life in this intellectual format means we get to rely on some of our very favorite types of memes: memes about college.

So, what’s the difference between freshman and senior year, you ask? We’re going to let the memes do (most) of the talking.

Straight A Perfectionist vs. Just Trying to Get Through It

 College is the big leagues of academics. Most who enter strive for perfection and swear by diligence. This makes sense—you enter college with a blank slate, meaning you actually have a shot at getting a 4.0. But then greek life starts recruiting new members and all of a sudden your academics go south. 

By the time senior year rolls around, you’ve already realized that the only thing you actually have to do to receive a piece of paper certifying your four years of “studying” and thousands of dollars of student debt is maintain a solid C average. May as well trade in a few A’s for a good time, right?

A Shiny New Adventure vs. A Finished Battle

In the beginning, college really does feel like a brand new adventure. You start your fun and exciting “adventure” in a shiny new place where you can meet interesting people and finally eat what you actually want for dinner. But somewhere along the way (maybe around the time when your university sends you a bill for all the fun you’ve been having, or when you learn that midterms occur not once, but multiple times through the semester), college begins to feel less like a fun adventure and more like a battle that you’re always losing.

There are a couple of different ways you can interpret this meme. You could come away with the conclusion that college, despite the colorful brochures of smiling students you were sent in high school, is a lot more stressful than it seems. Or, you could view college as the safe and happy place that prevents you from having to deal with the anxiety of finding a job in the real world. Either way, our advice is to enjoy your freshman orientation week—things spin out of control from there.

Manifested Dumpster Fires vs. Actual Dumpster Fires

Getting assigned your first paper in college can be really intimidating. Like we said, college is the big leagues of academics, but when you’re a freshman, you’re still figuring out the rules of the game (i.e. what the professors are actually looking for). Uncertainty creates anxiety, and anxiety creates an environment where (quite literally, as the meme suggests) everything is up in flames.

Flash forward to senior year, a time when you’re so done with school that you procrastinate like crazy and everything is (quite literally, as the meme suggests) up in flames. Although, at this point in your college career, when you have a paper due in two hours and have more than a good excuse to run around with your arms flailing in the air, you just roll with it (a sign of maturity if you ask us). 

Youthful & Energetic vs. Tired & Totally Over It

You can tell who’s been in college for a long time just by the look on their face. Freshmen have skin complexions glowing with energy and the look of excitement radiating from their eyes. Seniors...well, let’s just say they’re overdue for a day at the spa. 

Just like leading America for four years, completing four years of college is extremely stressful (but we should also mention the accomplishment of a lifetime). In fact, the only thing more exhausting than either of these things is doing them all over again. Just ask President Obama. Or someone who went straight into a four year Master’s program after completing their undergraduate degree. If you ask us, they’re basically the same thing.

Ransacking the Bookstore vs. Buying the Essentials at the Gas Station

By the time senior year rolls around, college students know exactly what school supplies they do and don’t need to make it through the semester. Memes are memes—they’re not supposed to be taken literally. Although, we are having difficulty thinking of what you really need to make it through your senior year of college other than a pack of gum, a pair of earbuds, and a phone charger. Hmm...a pen, maybe? Wait, do seniors even take notes?

Old Taylor vs. New Taylor

Most of these memes communicate bleak messages about the college experience, but we should emphasize that there are plenty of positives that come from it as well. We’re not really sure what this meme is actually trying to say. But if it’s comparing the progression of the college experience  to the evolution of Taylor Swift’s insanely successful career, then we think that makes a lot of sense. You may enter college as just a normal girl from a small country town, but by the time you leave, you’ll feel like you’re ready to sell out at stadiums all across the country. Or, you know, just find a normal 9 to 5. 

Everyday is a Crisis vs. It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere

When you’re a freshman, every bad grade and awkward encounter seems like the end of the world. If college is the best four years of your life, you certainly don’t want to ruin them with the mistakes you’ve made as a freshman. But the closer you are to graduating, the less time you have to mess up GPA or your reputation. It makes sense then, why being a senior in college is almost synonymous with kicking back and enjoying a nice cold drink. 

“Hi, Nice to Meet You” vs. “Please Leave Me Alone”

From the day freshmen arrive on campus, they’re eager to make friends (let’s face it, FOMO over social gatherings your freshman year is a very, very real thing). It’s hard to make friends if people don’t like you, and we all know that the easiest way to be likable is to charm people with a fabulous smile. 

But trying to make new friends by smiling at everyone you pass on the street is no longer necessary when you’re a senior. By that point, you’ve probably already found a gang of friends to hang out with on weekends (and, let’s face it, on school nights too). We’re not saying that seniors are mean or grumpy, but naturally they aren’t afraid to speak their truth and tell people how they really feel. Which, let’s face it, usually isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.

Cute Baby Face vs. Hot Glow Up

By the time you hit 18 and graduate high school, you think you’re pretty cool and put together. But then you attend college and realize how much further you really have to go. You may not realize it at the time, but after four years of college, your appearance will look drastically different than it did when you were a lil freshie.

In addition to knowing more academically, college will also teach you how to dress better and part your hair the right way. There’s no class taught on how to look better, it’s just something you learn via osmosis (the fee is included in your overpriced tuition).  So, if achieving straight As by the time you graduate college isn’t feasible (which it usually isn’t), at least you can leave university looking as cool and slick as Harry Styles did after he went through puberty. 

What did we learn from college? You leave it as a completely different person and in a completely different state than you did when you entered. The best four years of your life flies by fast, so it’s tough to say exactly what happens in between them. But, when we can’t get the answers from the history books (yearbooks), we can always supplement our reading with memes. Yup, no problem getting an A+ on that assignment. 

Jul 26, 2021