By Meagan Hardesty
Spring is in the air. The weather is starting to get warmer, days are getting longer and college-life is in full swing. But, for seniors, there’s only one thing on our minds – graduation. The excitement can be overwhelming, and a bit daunting at time. After living with friends every day for the past four years, the time has come for us to make some life-changing decisions. Some will be moving back home, while others may pursue career opportunities or to decide to continue their education to obtain a master’s degree so, what comes next after graduation?
Life after graduation is something we all look forward to and dread at the same time. After experiencing so much freedom at college, the thought of moving back home with our parents may be unbearable. But it is important to remember, even though we may be living under their roof, we can still have our freedom. Most parents understand that we are no longer teenagers, and have matured while away at college. Give them a chance to get used to the idea, but be prepared for the downside of independence. You may have to start paying rent and car insurance. This is just part of growing up and becoming a young, responsible adult.
While some of us are coming to grips with moving back home, others may be dealing with the fact that our friends are moving to other states. As a graduating senior, I am going through this exact struggle. One of my closest friends is leaving right after college and is moving 16 hours away. We are both coming to the realization that we will no longer be able to see each other whenever we want, and the anxiety has been building since we returned from winter break. Maintaining a close friendship over long distances can be a challenge, but if you put forth a little effort, the friendship can last a lifetime. After countless talks over dinner, we decided that 1,000 miles would not keep us apart. We plan to visit each other multiple times during the upcoming year, we will use social media and technology to stay connected and share life’s daily struggles and rewards. Although this is something different than we are used to, we are looking at it as the next chapter in our friendship and a new opportunity to travel and experience new adventures.
Oh, the joy of job hunting! While at college, the expectations of finding your dream job are high, but the chances of actually landing that perfect position before graduation are slim. Do not get me wrong; there are plenty of students who graduate from college with their dream job waiting for them to walk across that stage. But, that is not a reality for most seniors.
Springtime signifies the start of new beginnings. Seniors should start to think about career aspirations involving where they want to work after graduation. Do not procrastinate. The hiring process can be quite lengthy; online applications and multiple interviews can take months before getting hired at some companies. I began applying toward the end of February, and I already feel behind the curve. Those who wait may find themselves competing against all of the other college graduates who are applying last minute. Stand out. Get ahead of the crowd. Let them know why you are the one they should hire. This is the key to landing a great job that could become your future career.
Starting a career right after graduation may not be for everyone. Some students decide to continue their education and apply for graduate programs during their last semester. Pursuing a master’s degree, while working full time, can be challenging –but many people do it. Depending on your situation, it may take longer than expected, and you may not have as much free time as you like. But, all of the hard work will be worth it when you land that dream job.
When considering potential employers, see if they offer tuition assistance for higher education. This may be a good option if you need help paying for tuition. Furthering your education and not having to pay full price, what could be better? This is something that I am looking into when thinking about places where I am applying.
So Now What?
With graduation right around the corner, the stress may be kicking in. Remember take time for yourself and enjoy your last few months as an undergraduate. This is a special time in your life. Make as many memories as you can. Change is inevitable – whether it is moving to unfamiliar surroundings, exploring new career opportunities or expanding your mind – embrace all that the future has to offer. Cherish the time you have now with your friends and remember to think positively. You are about to be a college graduate.