Make the Most of Senior Year

Now that my senior year of college has ended, I feel totally bizarre. My life for four years has been firmly in the undergraduate world, and now I’m getting ready for grad school. I had an absolute blast with my senior year because I made sure that I did all the ‘lasts’ that I wanted to do at IUP. So what kinds of things can help you make the most of your last year of undergrad?

  • Make a list. This may just be because I’m a list fanatic, but it definitely helped me prioritize. Even though I had a ton of ideas, getting them down on paper helped me make them more concrete goals. For instance, I knew I wanted to make a kick-ass graduation cap. When the time came around, I knew I had to make time for it. And it paid off. I loved the way it looked, and I was featured on my university’s Instagram account. I’d call that pretty kick-ass!

  • Do the work. Don’t let senioritis hit too early. I somehow made it until the last two weeks of spring semester without feeling it hit me. But I knew some people who were plagued by the I-don’t-wanna’s since fall semester. You still have to do your work, set goals, and go to class. Even though I got my tonsils out at the end of September and didn’t play for the whole month of October, I put in the work to do a joint recital at the beginning of December. You just have to get it done.
  • Take advantage of unique opportunities. If there’s something to do on your campus that may not be an option out in the ‘real world’, do it! Fencing club you’ve always wanted to try out? Do it! Never been to a basketball game? Go! Never just taken an afternoon to lay in the grass under the trees? Treat yo’ self! Even though I put do the work first, you have to make time for fun and cool experiences.
  • Get a jump-start on the real world. If you have an internship or student teaching experience, take it seriously – those people could be your future coworkers. Get your resume reviewed by your school’s Career Center before you do a mock interview with them, prior to the real thing. Colleges and universities have tons of resources to help you get ready for real life, but you just have to reach out and find them.
  • Don’t be afraid to make memories. The last week or so, where we didn’t have to student teach, consisted of my friends and me doing fun stuff while moaning, “When did we get so old?? How did this happen??” There were a lot of ‘lasts’ in the last week, but we made the most of it. We went out of town to a cool restaurant we’d never been to, drank adult milkshakes at 2pm, and played bassoon trios in the reed room until 11:30 at night. We tried to pull all-nighters to finish our student teaching work samples, just because we could. Enjoy it while it lasts.

  • Go to graduation. My last piece of advice may be a little controversial to some, but it’s my list and I’ll say what I want. Even if you don’t go to the huge graduation ceremony, at least attend your department ceremony. That may be the last time you see some of the people you’ve spent four years with (for better or for worse), and I’m sure your professors want to see you again. This is especially important for people who are off-campus their last semester, because you usually haven’t seen a ton of other students or your professors. If you want to skip out on the big ceremony, you can do that if you want. I just really loved my department ceremony and the people there.

Well, there you have it! I really enjoyed my senior year, especially my student teaching semester and the very end. I did the work, had some fun, and made some memories that I know I’ll really treasure. Wow, that was really cheesy. I guess I’m still at the point where cheesy and sentimentality are the overriding emotions. Don’t be afraid of it – embrace the cheesy.

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