Isn’t it crazy to think about the fact that we’re already over a month into the spring semester? For those of you graduating in May, the end of your college career is rapidly approaching. While graduation is an exciting time, it can also be a time of stress and anxiety. Some of you may be immediately heading to graduate school. Others may already have an internship or job lined up for them. The rest of you might be worried about what your next steps will be. In just a few short months, you’ll be thrown into the real world. While that can be scary, here are some ways that you can make the transition a little bit easier:
1. Save money.
If possible, start transferring a little more money to your savings account than you usually do. Pick up an extra shift or two at work when you have some free time. If it takes you a few months to find a job after graduation, you’ll want to have an emergency fund so that you don’t find yourself completely strapped financially.
2. Clean up your social media.
Employers will look you up on social media when you apply for a job, and a few too many unprofessional photos or statuses could hurt your chances. Make sure you’re putting your best foot forward on social media so that employers won’t have a reason to throw out your application.
3. Get some work experience.
If possible, apply for an internship or volunteer somewhere that relates to what you’d like to do after graduation. We’ve all heard the saying – you need work experience to get a job, but you need a job to get work experience. College is the time to do an unpaid internship or get some volunteer hours in. You’ll get valuable experience plus a recommendation! A win-win.
4. Gather 3-5 strong references.
When applying for jobs, you’ll need at least the name and phone number of a few references. Figure out now who knows you well and will put in a good word for you. Sometimes having a good reference can mean the difference between getting a job or not.
5. Polish up your resume.
If you haven’t glanced at your resume in awhile, take some time to update it and make sure it looks professional. When you start applying for jobs, you’ll need to have your resume on hand, so it’s a good idea to polish it up now. It’s one less thing to worry about later!
6. Go to your university’s career center.
Some universities have better career centers than others, but what do you have to lose by stopping by? The career center can help you find internships, job opportunities, and volunteer work. If nothing else, the people there can give you advice on how to polish up your resume and write cover letters.
7. Figure out where you’re going to live after graduation.
When does the lease on your current place end? Will you need to find a subleaser? What cities do you see yourself living in? Where should you concentrate your job search? If you’re moving to another city, how will you coordinate the move? Figuring out your living situation now will save you stress later.
8. If you have student loans, figure out your repayment plan.
The people that you borrowed money from to pay for school will expect you to pay it back upon graduation! Figure out exactly how much money you owe and what the repayment terms are so that there are no surprises later on.
9. Cross all of your T’s and dot all of your I’s.
Make sure that there is nothing standing in the way of you getting that diploma! Make sure that you have paid all of your fees (including any pesky parking tickets!) and that you pass all of your classes this semester. Visit your advising office one last time to make sure that everything is in order for you to graduate.
10. Have fun!
College truly does go by SO fast. It seems like just yesterday I was a scared freshman, living in a dorm with my best friends, and taking freshman level courses. Now, I’m in my very last semester of my undergraduate career. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be in the same city as all of my best friends ever again. While you’re probably stressed out and crazy busy, make sure that you have some fun during your last semester of college. It’s your last chance to make those crazy memories that you’ll share with your kids someday!