Surviving Senior Year: Some Guidelines

Okay, so after weeks of whining about personal statement essays and GRE practice tests, I think it’s time to take a step back, and evaluate. The fall semester is almost over and I’m still standing.  And high moments and low moments aside, I think I’ve done a pretty good job of creating a balance between the fun and the functional.

With that in mind, I’m going to do something I’m completely unqualified to do. I’m going to offer you ladies some advice. Well, not so much advice as guidelines. Guide posts? Rules? Err…just keep this stuff in mind as you attempt to make it through your senior year.

Don’t be so focused on the future that you forget about the present.
During your senior year, it’s easy to get swept up in the idea of what comes next. Grad school applications and GREs. Internships and job interviews. Every time you turn around you’ll have to do something else to prepare for next year. And if that’s not stressful enough, everyone will be asking you about it every step of the way. What are your plans for next year? Will you be applying to grad school? Shouldn’t you have decided by now? Over and over again people will be bombarding you from every angle with questions about the future. But every once it a while you just need to remember to block them out and breathe. Sure it’s your last year of college, but you’re still in college. Don’t forget what that means. You’ll never be able to figure out exactly where you’ll be a year from now, so focus on the here and now instead.

Embrace the cliché college experience.
Go to every college hosted event you can, because it’s the last time you’ll ever be able to experience that event as a college student. I don’t have the numbers on this but I’m pretty sure that the current students tailgating in the parking lot during homecoming enjoyed the event a whole lot more than the alumni watching the game. The same goes for the pep rallies and the movie nights and everything else you stopped going to after sophomore year. Give it one more go. Think of it as a warm up for senior week.

Check your program requirements. Then check them again. Then once more.

The last thing you want is to be stuck taking your required math class spring semester of your senior year. (Oh the horror!) Or even worse, forced to take a summer class or stick around for an extra semester just because you’re short a few credits. Talk to you advisor. Look over the classes you’ve taken and the classes you need to take. Will that easy A class be worth it if you end up with the worst professor ever the summer after you were suppose to graduate?

Learn to let go.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t having some trouble excepting the fact that this is my last year as a college student. But denying that won’t make it go away. So even though I just told you not to focus on the future, now I’m going to tell you to make sure you don’t forget that it’s there. As difficult as it is for a control freak like me to say this, you need to learn to let go. And whether that means giving up your co-curricular responsibilities to focus on your internship, or skipping the party to start studying for your MCAT, make the sacrifice. Let it go.

Get an internship.

And one of the best ways to let go is to have something new to focus on. Not only will an internship or a job look great on your resume post college, but it’s also a great way to earn some real life experience. Thinking about going to law school? Get a job at a law firm. Being in an office environment will help prepare you for future jobs and allow you to see the inner workings of the career you’re considering. It’s the perfect opportunity to make sure you’ll be happy with that career before committing a significant amount of time to getting there.

What about you ladies? Any tips for making the most of your senior year?

Click here to follow Jenn’s other ups and downs of senior year.

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