I’ve heard this rumor colleges are starting.
I’ve even had a few people tell me they’re starting their senior year of college and freaking out about how quickly adult life is crashing down.
I don’t know what they’re worried about – mortgages, taxes, work schedules and buying your own toilet paper are the best parts of being an adult!
But, they continue to stress. And since I’ve already written about how to manage the first week of school as a freshman, it’s time to write about how to manage the last year of college as a senior!
1. Enjoy It! Yes, things are different now. Your good friends who were farther along in their college careers have graduated and there are all these noisy, squeaking freshmen wandering around campus in their place. They just look small and shiny and… different from who you’re used to seeing around! It’s normal to feel dislocated for a moment – but make it a moment only! This is your last year of college. Spend time doing the things that will make memories, not moping about the glory days gone by.
2. Make a Difference! This is the year you have the most influence. Use it! You know how the system works, where to get drop/add forms, who to talk to about the cafeteria menu, the cheers at the basketball games… you are the expert. So put your knowledge to good use – take one of those small, squeaky students under your wing and help them figure out this crazy college experience. Spend time tutoring in the academic support center or organizing student activities. Take the extra moment to smile at everyone you pass and genuinely ask how their day is going. This is your chance to make a lasting difference in your community – don’t waste it!
3. Prepare! Start with the basics: attend all of your classes, participate in discussions and create your resume. Schedule time this fall to take the GRE, MCAT, or GMAT (whatever is appropriate for your field) if you think there is a possibility you’ll go to graduate school. If your resume is weak, spend weekends doing community service, volunteer your services with local businesses to gain experience in your career field. Don’t run up credit card debt – it takes forever to get rid of it and it disables your future.
4. Be Flexible! Your senior year will look different than you imagine now. You may find that special someone to float your romantic boat, you may not. You may get “A’s” in all of your classes, you may not. You may have a job offer by graduation day, you may not. Be willing to go with the flow and relax – yes, a chapter of your life is ending but it’s opening up to a whole new, exciting book! Be present, engaged and look for opportunities for new experiences and to do your work with excellence. You’ll be amazed at how many good things will come your way!
5. Pay Attention! Above all, don’t waste your time. You have a finite start and stop date on this particular experience, so take advantage of the time allotted. Make this your most intense year of learning, serving and laughing… it will pay off big time in the future!
What advice do you have for today’s college seniors?