What you need to do before graduating from college

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College graduation is right around the corner. Right about now, graduating seniors like myself are either excited to start a new chapter in their life or scared of what life is bringing next but nonetheless it should be something to look forward to.

Finding a job is at the top of the list for many students when thinking abut graduation, so it is definitely one of the most important things. However, there are other things that soon-to-be graduates should do professionally and things to simply enjoy in the final weeks.

So before you head out, here are five things to do before graduating:

1) Make connections and land a job

Start reaching out. One of the things that helped me land an internship in San Antonio following graduation was the people I connected with. While I had the benefit of covering Final Four media day in San Antonio about a month ago, where I met and introduced myself to professional writers, I had to follow up with them to make sure they remembered me. It is never too late to send a quick message and introduce yourself as a professional in your field. You know you are going to need that job and if you know you have the skills, just show determination to go out and do it because that is what employers want to see.

Connections don’t only have to be employers and professors but colleagues and students too. Socializing with your peers is a key part in making the most out of your college experience. College is not just about growing academically; it is also about learning who you are as an individual. Interacting with your peers is an important step to discovering what drives, inspires and what fulfills you going forward.

One of the things I regret the most about my time as an undergrad is failing to make solid connections earlier. While I have made quite a few as of late, I feel that it would have been more beneficial to start earlier.

2) Take photos

Remembering everything is impossible, since our memory does not work like an infinite video camera. If so, it would be very difficult for us to make decisions quickly, and we would live with an emotions too complex to be operative. We remember many things, and most of them will come back to memory when facing a concrete situation. When we go to the movies and the seats are not numbered, we look in our memory for the place in the room where we felt more comfortable watching the movie, but we do not remember every movie we’ve seen.

Yes it may sound corny now but if we don’t do it, years down the road we all will regret not capturing our final moments in college. It’s simple, photos have a powerful impact when it comes to remembering something form the past and certainly college had to leave some things worth remembering. I know for me, it did.

So the next time you’re with your friends from college, take a snap. Also, don’t forget those graduation photos, which will be an important part of the memories you will want to have in the future.

3) Finish your classes strong

Stop watching Netflix for now and pay attention because you are going to need your coffee addiction one final time. “Senioritis” is real and currently taking it’s full effect on me. It’s one final time to battle the week of finals and my motivation to get through it is lower than it ever has been. However, I am preparing for it by telling myself “this is it, one last time.”

Know that your time on campus was valuable for your future. The way you finish your final week on campus in whatever classes you have, just remember you will most likely carry this same attitude into whatever you do next. We got this far, let’s finish strong and feel proud about what we accomplished.

4) Throw or go to a graduation party

Maybe you don’t care for partying or think that was the only fun thing about college, nonetheless have a night where you can relax and talk about the long journey with others. Don’t forget to invite your friends and the colleagues you are graduating with, talk about the good and bad and relive some memories. There are sure to be some moments with tears, smiles and laughter.

Who knows, this party may be the final time you will ever see that person who had a significant impact your life in college. Maybe this person meant a lot to you in other ways that seems hard to describe in the moment. Whatever it is, have this last moment with them and tell them how much they mean to you. Remember to stay safe and drink responsibly.

5) Be thankful

College is a privilege. We should be more than thankful to be where we are now, because there are people out there who will never experience what it’s like to get a college education. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, just 65.9 percent of students who graduated from high school in spring 2017 enrolled in college by last fall.

Getting this degree will also make life easier down the road. it is important to be financially prepared and college degrees help with this significantly.

According to the Social Security Administration, men with bachelor’s degrees earn $655,000 more in median lifetime earnings than high school graduates. Women with a bachelor’s degrees would earn $450,000 more in median lifetime earnings than high school graduates.

Aside from the financial aspect, college is also a lot fun. Whether it’s the people you meet, parties you go to or the freedom surrounding your schedule, college is a thrill ride so be thankful for it.

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