If you are graduating in May this year like me, you’re probably panicking over the million things you have to do before you take the big walk to get your diploma. It seems like so much within this four month span. I don’t think you would believe me if I told you that you can accomplish everything you need to do before graduation in this crucial semester. Although every person’s plans are different, the following are very important to focus on presently.
1. Apply for graduation
College requirements for graduation vary greatly, especially depending on the number of credits for your major. Once you hit that threshold, the Registrar’s office will let you know (usually by email) that you are eligible to apply for graduation.
This means you are on your way to satisfying your program’s requirements and your academic record will be reviewed to confirm that. The sooner you do this the better so that your spot at Commencement can be reserved and you can get your diploma!
2. Go to Career Services
Now it is time to go to this place you have been avoiding for four years and deleting their emails without opening. Whether you are planning on going into the work force right away, attending graduate school or taking a gap year off, it’s best to have a plan either way.
These professionals are here to help you proofread your resume and write the cover letter that will tell your story to appeal to employers. This will hopefully land you your dream job. They can also guide you to obtaining an internship and practice being in a job interview.
3. Organize your student loans
This is the part you might want to have a glass a wine for. It is a good idea to know how much in total you are expected to pay back on your student loans. Contact the source(s) of your loans to ask about payment options and how to consolidate your loans. If you receive federal aid that you are responsible for paying back, then I would visit your school’s Financial Aid office and see what assistance they have for you.
There are 44.2 million individuals with student loan debt in America, and about 42 million of them have received federal aid. You are not alone, and in time that debt will be paid off. The opportunity to be given an education is a gift and never a burden.
4. Get letters of recommendation
While you are still in contact with them, set time to meet with the faculty or staff member at your college or someone who has contributed to your growth as a student and future professional. Ask them to write a letter of recommendation for you. These people have watched you apply your skills and passionately engage yourself in your desired field, and they can graciously vouch for that.
Their words will prove to the reader of this letter what you are capable of and that you are the type of person they want to employ in their company or enroll in their graduate school. If you have a LinkedIn profile, have these letters uploaded there in addition to having a hard copy to reach a larger audience.
Some way, some how, you will be alright. You are living the dream by going to college and having experiences you will remember for the rest of your life with the people you have had these experiences with. At twenty-something-years-old, there is a lot of pressure to have the rest of our lives figured out from these four years. If there is one thing I have learned in this amount of time, it is that it is okay right now not to have it all figured out.
By taking advantage of your undergraduate career and learning what you like and don’t like, you have a clearer direction to set forth on and be the person you want to be. Take this last semester to start doing that, and let graduation be that first step. Keep in mind also that it is all not going to happen overnight. Remember to take a minute to breathe and do the best you can towards accomplishing the goals that will make you successful.
Congratulations to the Class of 2018 and the best of luck!