It’s finally here. It’s actually my last semester at UW-Stout, and as I think about the past three years I realize how much I have grown personally and professionally as a person. The thought of leaving this haven of college life and going into the real world terrifies me a little, but I am extremely excited at the same time.
First off, I assumed my last semester would be a breeze. It actually should have been, but I’m taking the final 15 credits of my major’s research and capstone project classes all in one semester (which they tell you not to do. I know, great going Joy!).
I am also working part time as a building manager for the Memorial Student Center, a newscaster for “Take2,” and as an extended-ETL intern for Target, so I have little time to just relax with friends or family. (But on a positive note, I am perfecting my time management skills.)
Now, enough about my life. You’re reading this because you are either in your last semester in college, about to enter your last semester, or you’re neither of those and you just want to know what the secret is. Let me tell you, it’s no secret.
Keep Working Hard
This semester wraps up everything you have been working for throughout your entire education. I know, senior year is stressful and you are probably really feeling senioritis hit hard, but you will be free from school in just a few months (or in my case 40 days). Don’t cash out just yet. You need to maintain your awesomeness until the day you walk across the stage to receive your diploma.
Like most college seniors, you are probably freaking out about your future right now. It’s OK; take a few deep breaths and relax. Even though this can be a scary time, you need to remind yourself to live in the moment. Attend some of the awesome events here on campus, explore Menomonie, try something different or just take time for yourself. These are the last months of your undergrad career, so enjoy them while you can.
Keep Your Friends Close
This is probably one of the last times that you will live within such close proximity of your friends. The people you have close relationships with right now will be a valuable support system throughout your life. Make sure you focus on strengthening those bonds and commit to staying in touch after graduation.
Befriend a Professor
This one is huge. If you haven’t already made some strong connections with any of your professors yet, you should really work on that. College professors are there to help you move ahead in your career. By making a great connection, a professor can provide letters of recommendation, connect you to potential employers and give valuable advice down the road. Remember, networking is key.
Land a job before you walk on stage
Now, I know what some of you are thinking: I’m trying. Yes, job hunting is hard, frustrating and can be a blow to your ego, but don’t wait until November or April to begin your job search. If you put in an honest effort into your job search, make the right connections (ah-hem, LinkedIn anyone?) and carefully apply for jobs you see fitting what you want, it is not out of reach to secure a job offer prior to graduation. You can do it and UW-Stout’s Career Services has an amazing staff to help you succeed after college. Make sure to use those resources.
Focus on you
I know, cheesy right? But seriously, promise yourself this semester to focus on who you want to be as a person. Regardless of whether you know who that person is or not, you should definitely spend some time doing a bit of soul searching. Focus on what you want for yourself and what lifestyle you want to live after you graduate. This will really help you set a few goals this semester and in the future.
Your last semester of college can be scary and exciting, all at the same time. This is your chance to really make the most out of your time as an undergrad and find the path you will take upon graduation.
I know when I look back at my college career, as busy as it might have been for the last few semesters, it also has been amazing. I became an outgoing, very involved and recognizable student on campus who landed an amazing job offer through the Career Conference with Target. I couldn’t be happier with my decision to transfer to UW-Stout. You know what they say: When in doubt, go to Stout!