I never believed people when they said that college flies by but the week before I started my senior year, I was in disbelief. It really did fly by. In all honesty, I called my friends crying because I was feeling a little overwhelmed. Suddenly, “the future” was starting to look a lot more like “reality.” However, by the time the first day of school rolled around and I had to wake up at 6 am, I was excited to be a senior. First of all, you’re almost done with school (or undergrad at least, many people are likely pursuing post-bachelor degrees). Secondly, I had gotten all of my core classes out of the way which meant I could finally take classes I would enjoy. Your senior year of college is a big one because you also start planning your life after college. For me, it’s so hard to believe because I was starting to think that I would be a student forever. However, here are a few things that helped me prepare for my last year of college.
VISIT YOUR ADVISOR
The summer before your senior year -or even at the beginning of the semester- check in with your advisor! Make sure you’re actually able to graduate by the end of the school year. You don’t want to find out you have one more class to take or a few more required credit hours when it’s too late. I like to check in with my advisor at the beginning of the semester before it gets too busy. It’s usually a short meeting but she always keeps me updated on my academic progress as well as programs that are available to me that I wasn’t aware of.
If you haven’t created a resume yet, now is the perfect time to! Whether you’re applying to graduate programs or looking for that first job, you should always be polishing off your resume. If you need help getting started, check out some of this blog and this blog that we’ve written about creating the perfect resume!
Another great benefit available at your school is the career center. It’s your key to preparing for life after college. The career center can help you with your resume, help you look into potential jobs you might be interested in, or they can lend an ear if you just need someone to talk to about any senior stress you’re feeling.
Internships are a great way to find out about what kind of job you want to get with your degree. They open you up to opportunities not available in the classroom. There are lots of great ways to find an internship and we’ve even posted a blog about tools to use to find your perfect internship!
Most of my friends, myself included, have already decided that we want to go to grad school after we graduate. However, I’ve personally decided to take a gap year in order to make some money to pay off some of my student loans. If you are thinking about grad school right after college though, make sure to talk with your advisor so you know what is required of you. Just like when you were applying to undergrad, there are many deadlines you have to meet, forms you have to submit, and interviews you will have to prepare for. If you don’t think you want to pursue grad school right after undergrad, my advisor informed me of gap year programs to take advantage of. For an example of one of these programs, check out THIS website.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF CAMPUS EVENTS
There are probably tons of events that your campus hosts that you may never even have thought of attending, or probably never even heard of. At my school, we have a concert at the beginning of every fall semester. If concerts aren’t your thing though, seek out smaller events. I decided to start volunteering more whenever I can. Last semester, I was able to help make wellness kits and then walk around the city and pass them out. While I regret that I didn’t get involved with volunteering earlier in my undergrad, I’m very grateful I was able to do so my senior year. So look out for campus events! Make the most of your last few months as an undergrad student.
HANG OUT WITH YOUR FRIENDS
This one I cannot stress enough. Try to make time to hang out with your friends. They likely won’t ever be this close by again. We all get busy and honestly that stress can overwhelm to the point that we can start to feel extremely lonely. The first time I experienced midterms as a freshman, I was so drained that I just wanted to sleep all weekend long. I couldn’t believe I would have to suffer through something like that for seven more semesters as a student. However, with time, I was not only able to handle midterms- and finals- I specifically set out time to hang out or video chat my friends because it helped me relax amidst the madness. So make time to hang out with your friends. Go to a restaurant, the movies, or even to a campus event! Try to create those undergrad memories that you can look back on years from now.
Come back to the Future Blog for more articles on college and career success!