The Decaturian is Millikin's student-run newspaper. The opinions reflected may not be those of Millikin as an institution.

The Decaturian

The Decaturian is Millikin's student-run newspaper. The opinions reflected may not be those of Millikin as an institution.

The Decaturian

The Decaturian is Millikin's student-run newspaper. The opinions reflected may not be those of Millikin as an institution.

The Decaturian

Junior Heart, Senior Mind


Growing up sucks. It’s all fun and games until someone breaks their arm on the swingset or signs with the Marines and is shipped off to the middle of Arizona.

Scratch that.

Growing up is fun. It’s exhilarating staying up Christmas Eve to try and spot reindeer, or licking the bowl of cake batter like it’s some highly forbidden thing. You might go to jail for it (whatever that is), but at least you tasted heaven before you’re locked up indefinitely.

Responsibilities suck. There we go. The bitterness that coffee would leave on your tongue becomes less of a gag reflex and more of a grounding ritual you perform every morning. The lego sets you salivated over in the store now seem like the devil’s henchmen chasing you for your utility money.

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Innocence is gone. So is naivety. You can’t watch your favorite movie without picking up on crude humor or laughing at some obscure inside joke that your young dazed eyes glossed over.

Middle school turns into high school and now you’re a senior in college.


I thought I was a junior? How did we get here so quickly? I was just talking with my advisor and switching over to the English department the second semester of my first year. I never even experienced welcome week or joined a club.

The entire population was wearing face masks like they were some extension of their own anatomy three months ago.

Propaganda was the buzzword and my freshman speech presentation was yesterday and I’m a junior. I’m a junior. I’M A JUNIOR.

No Maddy, you’re not. You graduate in less than two semesters. You are looking into grad schools and panicking over whether or not you’ll ever make it as a writer in this cruel world.

You are the eldest in your classes, now. The mentor. The most experienced. No longer the doe-eyed freshman over Zoom meetings.

Zoom meetings. Covid. Freshman year all digitized and asynchronous. Could that be why?

I’ve only been on campus for a little over two years. I never lived in the dorms and suffered alongside other girls as we all navigated life away from home. Living with complete strangers and either loving or hating them. I have just begun to warm up to the idea of witty comebacks with my peers and compiling a list of all the events I need to attend and the clubs I want to join. I am excited that I finally have the guts to write for the newspaper. To have gained even an ounce of belief in my own writing.

There is a little bit less uncertainty and more confidence in the manner of which I speak and write and walk throughout campus. I need at least one more full year after senior year to reap the full benefits of my undergraduate experience.

My voice is just beginning to emerge from the years of beating myself down. A smidgen of boldness slowly coaxed from professors who think I can write well.

I need one more year after being a senior-who-feels-like-a-junior. One. More. Year. But perhaps this is good for me. Perhaps I’m destined to have this lot in life, where once I warm up to the idea of things or gain a bit of confidence, everything is torn out from under me and my steady life flipped 167 degrees.

It’s a random number for a reason. Life is random. You cannot control it, cannot predict it. Cannot plan enough to make it comfortable for too long. It loves to destroy hopeful plans and take you for a trainwreck of a ride through hell most days.

That’s what junior year taught me.

Perhaps it’s a wonderful thing, being a senior in 2023. I’m not prepared for the next two semesters. I am hanging on for dear life, yet not terrified about that fact. My seatbelt is unfastened, but my grip isn’t sweaty or slick.

Welcome to senior year, I guess.

Don’t blow it.

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About the Contributor
Madelyn Cummins, Writer
Writer 2022- Present

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