Graduation season is exhilarating. Finals end, graduation parties become a thing, you experience academic freedom, your future is upon you, student debt is around the corner…Wait. That’s actually pretty stressful.
College graduation is one of the more important milestones for many of us. But, there’s undeniable pressure for college seniors as spring approaches. The job hunt and financial independence are things you’ll want to procrastinate on while you silently become a giant ball of stress. As a former college student, I know the ignore and suffer strategy all-too-well. Here is an actionable checklist to lower any anxious senior’s heart rate. Your future is bright, you might as well get started!
1. Graduation Requirements
Speak with an advisor to make sure you are graduating. Missing last-minute credits? Now’s the time to work it out. All hope is not lost. You can always make up your missing credits by having a quick conversation with your counselor and taking a fun summer school class.
2. Dress for success
Register for a cap and gown. While you’re at it, treat yo’self! Spring for a professional wardrobe and interview clothes. Remember, dress for the job you want, not the unemployment you have.
Don’t forget about apartment hunting. Have you asked your landlord to extend your lease, or started house hunting for summer or fall. Recommendation: secure a quick sublet to give you some time to house hunt after graduation. Or talk to your parents so they know to put your bed back into your mom’s new craft room.
Do you have a checking and savings account set up? Get a credit card or two. The goal is to never have outstanding payments on these cards. That’s how the credit of champions is built. Build your credit now, because the wonderful world of background checks is about to begin.
5. Eat at Your Favorite College Town Spots
Eat all of the food. Ever heard of the freshman fifteen? Time to invent the senior twenty. You might move away from all of your favorite foods in a few months. Prepare your stomach for the hard-hitting nostalgia.
6. Letters of Recommendation
Ask professors and teaching assistants for letters of recommendation. You may not need them right now, but once you start interviewing, you’ll want them ready to go.
7. Social Profiles
Edit and create your social media accounts. Set your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and AfterCollege profile to the right privacy settings and make sure you aren’t displaying anything inappropriate about yourself. Do: show yourself having fun with friends. Don’t: look like you are completely drunk or unkempt.
8. Job Boards
Post your resume to every job site you want to use as a resource. Once you start job-hunting, you don’t want to be bogged down with setting up profiles and adding details. Create your online presence now so that when the time comes, all you need to do is click “apply.”
9. Make Some Extra Cash
Sell any furniture you’re not taking with you after graduation. A little extra cash never hurt anyone! Except maybe Donald Trump. But, that’s besides the point.
10. Visit Your Career Center
Bring your resume to the career center. Your resume is only half a page? Bring it anyway.
Network! You’re consumed with finals, friends, and group study sessions. But, all of the parties, socializing, and goodbyes are just as good as any alumni event. Many of your friends are getting job offers or know people in the industry you want to work in. Ask your friends and the people you meet over the next few months if they know of any job openings.
Soak it all in. It’s hard to get in touch with that warm, fuzzy feeling during your calculus final, but this is your last moment on campus as a student. Enjoy every little detail–even buying your last scantron and blue book. This was your home whether it was for two years, four years, or even five years (I’m talking to you, super seniors). You deserve to leave smiling.