I am not one for regrets…well most of the time. I have my moments that I wish had gone a little differently, but honestly I prefer those to the opportunities I did not take. Cliché, but true. Since April is almost half over, I realized that it is almost ONE YEAR since I graduated from Bucknell. Craziness. I still cannot believe how fast time has flown by and how far I have come since graduation day. In that regard, I thought I would compile the things I would’ve told my senior year self in those final weeks leading up to graduation.
- Invest in work clothes… now!
Stop wasting money at Wal-Mart for fraternity party themes and online shopping for formals dresses and start investing in the basics. A white blouse, black pumps, slacks, and an interview tote are wardrobe essentials in the workplace.
- Escape the neurosis of others graduation anxiety
This, I actually did pretty well during those final few weeks of senior year. During my spring semester of senior year all of my friends were handling the transition differently. Some were calm, cool, and collected while others were bursting at the seams with anxiety. This may sound a bit harsh, but for my own psyche I distanced myself from the ones who were freaking out. That energy is contagious and truthfully, I was pretty calm about graduating. I knew that I was ready to leave Bucknell; I was far too comfortable there and needed something new to scare me. I didn’t want someone else to make me suddenly freak out. Distancing myself from my anxiety filled friends helped me immensely.
- Enjoy senior year for what it is, stop wishing for the future life in a big city
On the flip side of the previous tip, I wish I had been more present during my senior year. Honestly, once I came back from studying abroad in Sydney, Australia my junior year, I was pretty unhappy. I loved Australia and returning to Bucknell just felt like an overwhelming amount of sameness. I had a difficult time adjusting to life back in Pennsylvania and I think that definitely impacted my senior year.
- Write cover letter drafts/different styles of resumes in your down time
This will make your life so much easier in the long run. Start drafting up different cover letters and resumes for possible career paths. For instance, I was looking into PR & marketing positions within multiple industries. Different fields and positions required slight variations in my application. Take a study break from finals and reformat your resume and draft some possible cover letters!
- Have more wine nights with friends
- Let the small dramas go, they aren’t worth it in the long run
This is a lesson I have learned over the years and noticed that I continually had to tell my friends during senior year. There was a little snafu during our spring break trip and some of my friends were still frustrated after we returned to campus. I remember sitting down with one of my closest friends and saying “Will this matter in a week? A month? A year?” and she stopped, nodded and said “I know, I know you’re right Shookie.” And I said, “You are wasting so much energy on this, energy you could spend in so many other valuable ways, right?” and she nodded sheepishly. It may seem like a huge deal, (and adding in everyone’s graduation anxiety doesn’t help!) but trust me, it probably isn’t. Let it go, and just enjoy!
- Don’t compare yourself to others
We all have those friends who had a job practically the first day of senior year. It is really easy to get jealous or compare your lack of plan to your friends. Resist this urge! Whether or not you have a job, everyone is still figuring things out! All our paths are different, embrace it, and do not let yourself get caught up in the comparison game. You will lose every time, no matter what.
- It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later
Change is a part of life! Even though it is difficult to leave the place you called home for the last four years, know that bigger things are up ahead! You will keep in touch with your friends and there is always reunion weekend to indulge in a little nostalgia.
- It’s okay not to have an answer to the question “So what are you doing after graduation?”
This can be especially hard at family events, but I promise you it is okay to say, “I’m not sure yet” or “I’m keeping my options open.” Your family members likely wish they could have the “world as their oyster” once again. Remember to stay positive and tell anyone who asks that you are still deciding what’s next; there is nothing wrong with that!
- Become comfortable with the unknown
I will be the first to admit that this is the hardest thing about graduating without a job. Most of my friends did not have jobs when we graduated (myself included) and as I’ve said before, I am a planner. I was excited about the next step, but it was also hard to wrap my head around what could possibly come next. Being in that state of limbo is tough, but once you accept it and allow yourself to be okay with it, it gets a lot easier.
Senior year was an amazing end to my time spent in good ol’ Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Although I miss college sometimes, I am really excited about what is to come in the “real world.” To any college seniors out there, remember to take a deep breath and just enjoy this time for what it is. Senior year only happens once, make the most of it!