If you’re a second semester senior, you’re probably experiencing an array of emotions at every waking moment – anxiety, restlessness, fear and the overarching attitude of girl, bye. As a recent grad, I know that getting to the tassle is a hassle. Final projects, financial aid exit interviews, job and grad school applications…the list goes on and on.
In 77 Things You Absolutely Have to Do Before You Finish College, Halley Bondy, a New York City-based author and Digital Producer for Oxygen has, well, 77 more things for you to accomplish before chucking the deuces to your respective college or university. While the likelihood of completing every single task before your commencement ceremony is slim to none (unless you’re Superwoman), Halley was kind enough to pinpoint seven essential to-do’s to add to your list. Time’s a-ticking! No pressure or anything, though.
1. Write thank you emails to your professors
Pick your favorite professors. You know, the ones who inspired you, who saw you through tough times, or the who ones who made a boring subject miraculously exciting. Got the names? Now, write them professional, short-and-sweet emails stating how much you loved their class, and that you hope to stay in touch after graduation. Add a little note about your future plans. This isn’t only a polite thing to do, it’s a really simple way to strengthen your professional network before you leave. Don’t forget to include all your contact information, Twitter handle included!
2. Follow up on your internship applications
If you plan on working right after college, you should have a few professional irons in the fire by now. Hopefully you already have internship or job applications pending (if not, get going girl!), and now is the time to follow up. Shoot the hiring managers an email letting them know that you’re about to graduate, and that you look forward to hearing back from them. Maybe it will jolt their memory and they’ll finally write you back!
3. Hit up every professional contact you know
Yes, you’ve got even more emails to write, and these are perhaps the most important emails of all. Here is a not-so-secret: connections help. They really help. Sure, you might get lucky and nab a gig from an online job board, but your application is likely to get lost in the shuffle unless you’ve got someone on the inside. Think family members, former employers, random connections, friends of friends. If they remotely resemble a professional contact, email them (individually – no mass emails!) and tell them you’re in the market.
4. Get a new interview outfit
Make a checklist of all the “hire me” basics: the shoes, the skirt, the stockings, the blazer, the undershirt – all the boring stuff that make you feel and look professional. Head to your local thrift store and get shopping. Sure, the purchase adds up, but this is probably the best investment you’ll ever make. You won’t land a good job if you look like a frumpy college kid. Plus, you can wear the same outfit to multiple interviews and no one will be the wiser!
5. Get a physical for no serious reason
Once you leave college, health care is sadly difficult to come by in the states. For the next few months, however, you probably have access to free medical care close to your dorm. As a real world attaché, I can promise you: YOU WILL (PROBABLY) NEVER GET THAT AGAIN, EVER. Go get a physical, now! Even if you’re healthy! Do it all! Pap smears! STD tests! Blood work! Cholesterol checks! Psychotherapy! Pack it all in before you have to deal with doctor hunting and insurance deductibles…which have a way of making most people say: “f**k physicals!”
6. Pimp and primp your social media
So, you haven’t touched your Twitter in months, your Instagram is a bar-hopping selfie cesspool, and your Facebook posts are pretty much all overshares with a sprinkle of swear words. Time to pimp and primp your social media! Presumably, you’re about to start job hunting in earnest, and employers do take your social media seriously. Beef up your accounts with significant posts (i.e. articles about your field of work) and professional information (such as your résumé on LinkedIn), and delete the totally unprofessional stuff. Show your personality, but if we’re talking about catty Twitter wars, drunken or half-naked photos, drug talk or badmouthing former employers: da-lete!
7. Forgive yourself
This sounds corny, but it’s important. Whenever I talk to near-graduates they ask panicked questions like: “What if I don’t have enough internships on my résumé? What if my GPA is low? Did I do this right? Am I going to wind up in the gutter?!” Look, I may be chock full of advice now that I’m older and wiser, but I had my fair share of shortcomings in college. Everyone does. Forgive yourself, even if you weren’t the best student in the universe or the best athlete or the most social. What’s done is done. If you’re ambitious, and if you look forward (not backward), you’ll eventually achieve anything.
[Lead image via PSU’s Valley Magazine]