Note: This post is about your senior year of college, but many of these tips can be adapted to your senior year in high school- another huge milestone!
When you attend Freshman Orientation at the very start of your college career, Senior year seems SO far away. Things like graduation and job searches are the farthest things from your mind. But suddenly you go to bed, wake up, and three years have flown by!
I know many of you are at the start of your final year of college, an incredibly exciting time. But instead of letting this year fly by, I encourage you to make an effort to maximize the time you have left in college – senior year is a great opportunity to start making plans for the future, and have some fun as well! So, here is my list of the top 5 ways to make the most of your senior year:
1. Live it Up
If you’ve finally made it to Senior year, chances are you’ve been working your butt off! Whether you started your college career off strong, or you’ve been pulling double-duty the past couple years to make up for a little too much fun in the beginning, either way, you deserve to reward yourself for your hard work!
Applying to graduate school, finding internships or jobs, and doing work in upper level classes is seriously time-consuming and stressful. But don’t forget that while you are planning for the future, you should still be living in the moment. This is the last time you’ll ever be a senior in college…enjoy it!
2. Plan A/Plan B
For a Senior level class within my major, we are working on a project called Plan A/Plan B. Basically, we are researching two completely separate plans for our lives. We examine what our immediate steps after graduation will be, and we look at where we would like to be in five years. Then we make “Plan B” – our backup plan, should things not pan out as we hope.
Even if it’s not required for your major, I recommend doing a Plan A/Plan B exercise yourself. Sit down and devote some serious time to thinking about where you want to be not just after graduation, but also five, ten, fifteen years down the road. Then get to work exploring how you can get the ball rolling now. And, don’t just think about what your “Plan A” may be. Make sure that you keep Plan B tucked away in the back of your mind just in case.
3. Reconnect with Old Friends
This is me (front and center) with my roommates!
Sometimes we are lucky and the friends we make freshman year stay with us all the way through college. My roommates and I met at the start of Freshman year and have been inseparable ever since! However, many times, we drift away from some people that we may have been really close to.
So during your Senior year, take some time to touch base with your freshman roommate, or your old biology lab partner. It will be really fun to reminiscence about old memories together, and you’ll remember why you two used to be so tight.
4. Say Thank You
There are numerous professors, graduate students, and advisers that have helped you out along the way. Whether by offering advice, writing recommendations, or just saving your butt when they could have easily made your life tough, they helped you get where you are today. So take a few minutes to hand-write some kind thank you notes. It will be an unexpected, but definitely appreciated gesture, and you never know when having these contacts could help you down the road.
5. Save/Invest Your Money
Words like IRA, mutual funds, and 401-K are not fun to hear or think about, but the time has come for you to learn what they mean! Retirement seems like a million years away, but if you don’t start planning for your future early, you’re going to have some serious regrets.
If you have some space in your schedule, take a personal finance class during your last semester. If you can’t, make sure to educate yourself on things like budgeting, retirement, and investing. There are several great books out there like The Everything Personal Finance in Your 20’s and 30’s and My Own Two Feet: A Modern Girl’s Guide to Personal Finance that I highly recommend.
What do you think?
So are you a Senior this year? If so, how are you feeling? Any words of advice to other Seniors? If you aren’t yet, are you looking forward to Senior year? Let me know in a comment below!