Thursday, March 23, 2023

The final semester of senior year told through paintings


Share post:

Photo courtesy of Flickr

Story by Katrina Johnson / Contributing Writer

It’s April, and that means it’s crunch time for those graduating in May, which is only two weeks away. Between papers to be write, homework to do, tests to study for, graduation plans to make and jobs to find, it’s a stressful time for college seniors. So, if you need a little study break, do yourself a favor, sit back and enjoy this list of classical and medieval paintings that perfectly embody the moods and facial expressions of students in the home stretch of their senior year. 

When your professor’s idea of a “short” paper is 10-15 pages 

The face depicted in Lorenzo Monaco’s “Madonna” really says it all. (Wikimedia)

Throughout college, students write a lot of papers — so many that they could probably write them in their sleep. However, the last thing seniors have time for is writing an absurdly long 15 page paper, and it only makes it worse when professors try and pass off that nightmare of an assignment as something quick, simple and short. No one has time for that.

When you and your crew get together and attempt to study

We can all relate to these expressions in “The Ghent Altarpiece: Singing Angels” by Jan van Eyck. (Wikimedia)

It’s the end of the semester, and friends are trying to help each other through the final stretch. With so much to do, it’s hard to focus on one thing at a time. Not to mention, since it’s so close to the end, seniors are simply just burned out. It’s basically impossible to cram any more information into their brains. 

When your mom asks you how classes are going and what your plans are after you graduate

“Orpheus and Eurydice” by Frederic Leighton perfectly captures how tired college seniors are of their parents asking about their futures. (ArtUK)

This is a sensitive subject for many seniors. Those two seemingly simple questions can spark panic and bring tears. It’s such an overwhelming experience trying to finish the semester and having to think about entering the “real world.” So parents, give your kids some space; and seniors, remember that they only ask because they care. 

When your professor is grading exams and takes a moment to wonder what the class was thinking

Chances are, throughout your time in college, you’ve probably seen a professor make the same face this man has in “Saint Jerome in His Study” by Domenico Ghirlandaio. (Britannica)

Exam week is a bittersweet time. No one looks forward to taking finals, but once you’re done that means the semester is finally over. However, have some sympathy for your professors that have to grade all of the papers and tests — which likely didn’t have a lot of effort put into them. 

When you ask your professor to clarify one thing, but they turn the answer into an entirely new lecture 

You can almost hear a sigh of boredom in this scene from “Book of Hours of Frederic of Aragon” by Giovanni Todeschino, Jean Bourdichon and Master of Claude of France. (Khan Academy)

It’s amazing how long some professors can take to answer a simple question. Sometimes, by the time their explanation is done — if you’re still paying attention — you may be wondering “Wait. What was my question?” In the end, you leave more confused than before you ever asked anything.

When you realize you missed your dropbox submission deadline so you type a fancy email to your professor in hopes of getting an extension 

Though students may not go as far as handwriting a letter like “Phyllis” by Ovid, there certainly will be many emails sent out to professors. (Berkeley)

With so much going on at the end of the semester, it can be hard to be on top of everything. If an assignment slips by, the last resort students have is to try and garner sympathy from their professors. It doesn’t always work, but sometimes the college gods smile down and the dropbox gets reopened. So, if you find yourself carefully constructing an email and hoping your professor is merciful, know that you’re probably not alone. 

When you try to have fun and go out with the squad, but keep remembering all the class work you have

“St. Martin is Knighted” by Simone Martini is pretty much exactly what a group of college seniors look like at a party during Spring semester. (Wikimedia)

Throughout college, students hear about the importance of time management. Balancing school, work, sleep and friends can be tricky though. Many have tried to put the responsibilities of life out of their mind for just one night. However, your responsibilities usually find a way of creeping back into your mind and ruining your night. At least graduation night will be a time to finally have fun. 


Though the end of senior year can be stressful and scary, it’s also a time of celebration. You should be proud of what you’ve accomplished in you’re time at MTSU, and hopefully you’ll look back at your time on campus with true blue pride.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Tayhlor Stephenson, email

For more updates, follow us at, on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter/Instagram at @Sidelines_Life.

MTSU's digital daily news source

Related articles

World Storytelling Day at MTSU: Coming together for a purpose

Featured Graphic by Destiny Mizell Story by Anna Kaserman National World Storytelling Day, March 20, is a day for recognizing...

MTSU BSCC hosts “Poetry In Motion”

Photos and story by Reggie Johnson Jr. Middle Tennessee State University's Black Student Creatives Collective hosted their "Poetry In...

MTSU students put their Women’s History Month knowledge to the test in gameshow

Featured Photo by Lillian Chapman Story by Lillian Chapman Middle Tennessee State University's Student Programming and Raider Entertainment held a...

Movies to expect in March

Featured Graphic by Makayla Sulcer Story by Makayla Sulcer March is a month packed with a variety of blockbuster...