My time as a SOAR Leader has conditioned me to talk to students and families about how to best approach their first semester in college. We discuss campus resources, study habits, and how to balance extracurricular with their academics. Instead of talking about that today, I wanted to talk about something that has been on my mind lately: the dreaded g-word. That’s right. GRADUATION. Graduating absolutely terrifies me, but it is unavoidable (you mean I can’t stay here forever?!) I personally think the two most important semesters in a college career are your first and last. So without further ado, I want to tell you all about how I am approaching my last semester of school.
Although we are only two weeks into the semester, I have been bombarded with questions like “What are you doing after you graduate?” “Have you found a job?” “Where will you live?” “What’s your plan?” “What about law school?” And unfortunately, I don’t have an answer to any of these questions. My last semester is already full of anxiety and stress trying to plan for the future. But thankfully, I know I’m not alone, and I want to give some tips to other last semester seniors who might be experiencing the same discomfort as me.
- It is okay to say “I don’t know.” My current life motto is inspired by a famous David Bowie quote: “I don’t know where I’m going, but I promise it won’t be boring.” We don’t have to map out our entire future in this last semester. It is okay to have doubts and uncertainty of where we will end up. But on the flip side, even though we may not know right now, it is important to take action to push ourselves in a direction that will end in a plan. I am struggling to accept “I have no idea what I’m doing with my life” as my temporary answer to the future, but Missouri State has resources in place that can help us feel better about that answer AND push us forward towards an answer we will be more satisfied with. (You knew I was going to plug resources into this blog post!!) If you are a senior struggling with the uncertainty of the future, I encourage you to check out the Counseling Center! Discussing your anxiety around this topic will lift it off your chest and might even provide some clarity in the decisions you’ll have to make in the not-so-far future. You get eight sessions throughout the semester to talk about anything you need to. The Career Center is another great resource for fine tuning resumes, understanding interview etiquette, and networking with potential employers in the Midwest area. These resources are included in your student fees and have no additional cost to you (that’s right, F-R-E-E) so make sure you take advantage of them! Professional resume revision can cost as much as $500 in the real world, so make sure you drop by the Career Center to snag those opportunities before they are gone forever.
- Make a LinkedIn account. This has been one of the most helpful pieces of advice I have been given by my friends who are recent graduates. LinkedIn truly can make the difference for a potential employer! There are tons of LinkedIn tips and tricks on Pinterest and YouTube to help maximize the platform. I still need to fine tune my account and will make a blog post specifically about how to make the most out of LinkedIn. Stay tuned!
- If you’re applying for grad school make sure you are actively asking for application waivers. Application fees could cost as much as $100 per school, which adds up to a pretty penny for those students applying to 5-7 schools. Almost every school has an application waiver ready for applicants, and some give them out without asking. If the school you’re interested in doesn’t advertise the waiver, ask for it! It’ll save you so much money in the long run that you can put forth towards more important costs. I am asking for waivers constantly while I’m applying for law school, and so far every school has had a waiver they have been more than happy to give me.
- Missouri State has blessed me with incredible friends. I am so grateful to have met such loving people at this school, but it’ll be little more difficult to maintain these friendships once we’ve graduated. I want to make sure that I am investing in my friendships and spending time with people that matter to me. I have been lucky enough to create college memories that will last a lifetime, and I want to continue that as much as possible with my friends before we move away, start grad school, or enter the workforce. I want to cherish my last moments of college before the real world sets in!
This last semester is crazy and intimidating, but I know that we’ll make it through. Make sure you are thanking your BearLine drivers, your professors, those who clean after us, and those who have impacted you. There are so many people at Missouri State who have contributed to your experience here. I know I will be forever grateful. Kick off your last semester on a high note, and as always, GO BEARS!
(Grace Walker, a senior majoring in Socio-Political Communications, is an Orientation Assistant in the New Student and Family Programs Office. Here involvement on campus includes University Ambassadors, the Traditions Council, the Homecoming Committee and Alpha Chi Omega.)