So you’re a senior now. Or, I guess, statistically, you probably aren’t. I realize I’m severely alienating the great majority of my potential audience with that kind of lead, but well, it’s my senior year, and through a tragic mix of obvious character flaws and lack of motivation to address any of them, I’m incapable of seeing anything outside of my own perspective. So, congratulations! For the purposes of this article, you’re a senior. And wow, what an experience senior year is. The storm before the bigger storm! This is a time where you have to knit together some semblance of a purpose, plan, and identity even though you’ll never really have a true answer for any of those. At least, that’s what I’ve been told. I obviously have a very strong sense of self and clear sense of direction, as I cannot be seen in writing having any sort of doubts to the contrary, due to the applications I have already sent out and will send out soon. But for the rest of you, I know this transition period may be hard. You’ll soon be giving up a lot of the life you’ve built for yourself in the hopes of doing something remotely related to what you care about until you die. Scary stuff! So I, in my lofty position as an AMP writer, have prepared some useful tricks and coping mechanisms for you as you prepare for the next step.

Murder your friends.

After graduation, many of your friends, or maybe even you, will no longer be in the DFW area. It’s not that you don’t care about each other, it’s just that your career is temporarily more important for you, until you end up in dead-end work and realize the connections you’ve built are really the only things that matter in your short life, and you spend the rest of your years trying to claw back any modicum of the closeness you once felt with your peers. The goodbyes will be drawn out, heart wrenching, and painful. In my view, you should deal with all of those emotions now, rather than letting them corrupt your daily life for years to come. There’s only one way to do that — cold, detached homicide. Throw them off the roof of Parking Structure 4. Drown them in the reflecting pools. Cut them into small pieces and serve them at Panda Express. Feed them to Temoc, so that He may have the souls necessary to reproduce and fulfill the prophecy to bring about the apocalypse. That way, you can overcome your attachments and deal with all of the complex emotions of loss in one fell swoop, and consequently no longer be distracted by personal ties as you pursue your dreams. Don’t get caught, of course.
Note: AMP is not liable for any murders committed due to being inspired by this article, because I am Pre-Law, and the First Amendment rights to free speech and freedom of the press mean what I say it does.

Write your applications as if you were Nicolas Cage.

Who would turn down Nicolas Cage? Would you turn down Nicolas Cage? Definitely not. The world would be better if every workplace and postgraduate campus was filled with Nicolas Cage. So really, this plan cannot fail. Make sure your personal statement includes “I am Nicolas Cage, Survivor of One Thousand Bee Stings in The Wicker Man.” Include on your résumé your most recent project, Mandy, which I wholeheartedly endorse seeing. (I have not yet seen it, but the internet tells me that it is good, and I agree with all critical consensuses so that I sound smart.) Track down his previous whereabouts and collect DNA samples, so that you may clone Nicolas Cage and immediately murder said clones so that you may craft skin suits to wear to your interviews. Through this method, you no longer have to stress about applications and are free to pursue the fun leisure you have always wanted to have at UTD. (“Wow, Zach, Nicolas Cage jokes? What is this, 2010? Did you just discover what memes are? Are you fumbling for universal pop culture references for easy laughs since you’re running out of joke ideas?” If you’re thinking any of this, the answer is a resounding yes.)

Set aside some stress relief time.

If you spend your entire senior year stressed, you’re going to instantly regret it. It’s best to set aside some key moments for you, doing what you love, so that you don’t get overwhelmed. Do some exercise, like lifting weights obviously outside of your limits to impress people you have a crush on at the gym that aren’t even paying attention to you. Even if you get injured or a hernia, that’ll require medical attention, which is a medical excuse to delay completing your responsibilities. Listen to some music, like my radio show, The Trifecta, on-air at RadioUTD Fridays from 12-3 p.m.! Go a little crazy and have not one but two beers at The Pub to calm your nerves. Stare into the void for hours on end as you contemplate the meaninglessness of your life in the universal timeline and the impossibility of ever being able to look back at your undergraduate accomplishments with a sense of pride once the dark veil of death separates you from this mortal plane and hence erases your ability to appreciate what you’ve done, or think at all! Whatever you do, make sure it’s for you, and you alone.

Write comedy listicles for AMP so that you can act like you’re being productive when you’re actually delaying the work you need to do while publicly displaying your personal crises for a public audience as a weird form of therapy to get fleeting positive reinforcement out of your pain through others’ laughter.

This one’s pretty self-explanatory, and applicable to all of you, not just me.

Get suspended or expelled (in a fun way).

You know you don’t want this to end. Everyone spent your entire life telling you college would be the best years of your life, and either that has been true for you, which means you don’t want to leave, or that hasn’t been true, and you can’t leave until it is, out of fear that it only gets worse from here. The only solution, then, is to not graduate. There are some easy ways to do that, such as failing your classes, but that doesn’t give you any crazy stories to impress your grandkids with. So I say go out with a bang. Sneak into the tunnels beneath UTD, with a penalty of instant expulsion, and get rescued by one of the workers right before a blast of steam burns your skin off your bones. Unmask Temoc at a very public event with secret cameras broadcasting to Facebook Live. Hack the UTD website and replace all content with the evidence that you’ve collected that JFK did 9/11. Spray paint a naughty word on the Spirit Rocks, and then pose naked on top of it until you get arrested. Do something with zero real consequences but that embarrasses UTD in a way that affects their enrollment, rankings, and donations. That way, senior year never has to end, and you can read this article for advice again, and again, and again.