5 Things To Do Before Senior Year

By Caitrin Sneed on June 15, 2015

The summer before senior year can be stressful and boring at the same time. Everyone is putting all the focus on post-graduation life but you still have a year to go.

At times it feels like a waiting game to start ‘real life’. At other times you want to run backwards through the calendar to avoid facing the reality that you don’t know what you’re doing. Here is a ‘Pre-Senior Year To-Do List’ to help make this summer count and prepare you for the year ahead.

Get Your Resume in Order

Hopefully you already know the basics of resume and cover letter writing, but if not this is a good time to learn. In your senior year you will be faced with job fairs, paid internship opportunities and post-grad job applications fairly quickly after the fall semester starts. Having your resume saved on your desktop as a .pdf, ready to go at a moment’s notice, will make your life so much easier.

Working on your resume will also bring glaring holes to your attention, such as an embarrassing lack of experience, a GPA you wish was higher, or nothing to put in your “Skills and Awards” section. Don’t feel like a failure as you stare at your sad Word document that you are trying to pass off as a resume. This moment of dread is a rite of passage in a way.

Harness that feeling of death in the bottom of your stomach and use it as motivation to make senior year count in the way you need it to. Use this last year at school to strengthen the weakest section of your resume – raise your GPA, volunteer, learn how to code, or try to get a spring semester internship.

Have a Year-long Saving Plan

College is expensive. Graduating is expensive. Life is even more expensive. End-of-the-year you who is buying a cap and gown and going to graduation parties will really thank beginning-of-the-year you if you put some money in savings.

Post-grad you who thought getting a job would be easier, is moving into an apartment and needs to pay the security deposit and buy a kitchen table and no longer has a meal plan or dorm mates to steal food from will be madly in love with beginning-of-the-year you if you put a substantial amount of money in savings.

Money, By At.morey.tota (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

Establishing a saving plan pre-senior year will make you consider how much money you’ll need coming out of college to survive and help you reach that savings-goal. Another thing to consider when establishing a saving plan — those student loans you have to start paying back.

Make a ‘Before It’s Too Late’ College To-Do List

Catching the Sunrise, courtesy of Caitrin Sneed

Senioritis makes everyone cynical. But college is a pretty awesome time in your life, you will miss something about campus, and you have at least one friend who you want to get one last coffee with.

Make a list of things you always said you wanted to do in college (watch the sunrise on the beach with/ your bff), want to do one last time (go to a floor meeting for the free pizza and sneak out early), or think you’d regret missing out on (being involved could possibly be fun) — and then do them.

Doing tequila shots over spring break is absolutely #basic, but use this time to do it because things will be different after you graduate and some activities become not as socially acceptable.

Go Somewhere New

Golden Gate Bridge, courtesy of Caitrin Sneed

Staying in the city you went to college in and going to live where you grew up are the defaults for most people post-graduation. These work for a lot of people and make sense for a lot of different reasons (professionally, economically, socially), but these don’t have to be the only places you consider.

Even if you have a clear idea of what you want to do after you graduate it is good to get out of your comfort zone and imagine what life could be like somewhere you’ve never been before. It doesn’t have to be some dramatically different international location (although if you have the funds to do that, why are you reading this? You’ll probably be fine, go to Europe.); try Chicago if you live in St. Louis. Try Boston or Philly if you live in New York.

Stay Inspired

This is the final stretch. Screwing up now would be a waste of time and energy. Stay inspired, get excited, and get through this last year of undergrad. Fill your summer with whatever fuels you. Watch amazing documentaries, travel, read, eat at nice restaurants and then realize you would like to be able to afford them on your own without help from your parents. No judgement — just find the thing that will propel you through to the finish line.

Graduation, by Danny Myers, U.S. Air Force photo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Happy Senior Year.

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