What to Do Before Graduating College

graduating college

Graduating College Soon?

Senior year of college is an exciting time for many. Knowing you’re so close to graduating college feels like a relief. The constant studying and essay-writing is almost done. You’re about to be free from the on-campus dining options and that roommate you really don’t like. And it’s nearly time to start your journey into adulthood. Indeed, there’s a lot to look forward to. But you may also feel some grief that your college career is ending.

Truly, you may not live close to many of the friends you’ve made. You or they will soon return home, which may be hours away. And many people plan on moving for work or exploring the world after graduation.

Additionally, going out into the “real world” can be scary for the first time, especially if you haven’t lived alone or held a full-time job. The unknown that awaits after college can be exhilarating and terrifying. Making a plan for your senior year is a great way to calm your nerves, focus on your semester, and ensure you reach the finish line.

During these final semesters, you should make sure you allow yourself both time to be productive and have fun. Namely, you don’t want to spend these months panicking and overwhelming yourself with coursework, but you also shouldn’t sit around and wait for college to end. Whatever your plans are after college, you need to prepare. For example, you should utilize career services and build your resume, practice interviewing, and figure out what jobs you want.

7 Things to Do Before Graduating College

Those last few months of your degree can fly by quickly. Thus, getting overwhelmed by everything you need to do is easy. As you reach the finish line, you’ll need to take care of the logistics, like the graduation application, cleaning out your dorm, etc. But what do you do before then?

You’ll have two or three semesters’ worth of classes to wrap up your senior year. Often, these may be the more difficult and time-consuming courses out of your entire degree. They may require more lab hours and studying or even internships and volunteer work. Indeed, some colleges require students to complete an internship before they’re eligible for graduation. And while all this is going on, you’ll still need to prepare for what you do after graduation.

Below, we’ll go over how you can make the most of this time before graduating college.

woman graduating college, throwing cap

1. Think About Your Next Steps

Before you think about your classes, preferably before the semester begins, start thinking about what you want to do after graduating college. Now is a great time to set goals for the future. Do you have a company or job in mind? Maybe you already have a position lined up, and they’re waiting for you to get your degree. What about living plans? Are you going back home, or do you want to move straight into an apartment or house? Basically, you should think about the life you want: job, home, friends, and location.

Also, you need to consider what’s realistic on top of what you want. Indeed, in 2022, the housing market isn’t the greatest. It may be unrealistic to plan on getting your own place with a new job and entry-level salary. And your hometown may not be the best place to work in your desired field. Some industries boom in big cities and have limited or no opportunities elsewhere.

Once you know what you want and what’s realistic for you, it’s then time to plan your next steps. You’ll need to make time for networking, interviewing, resume-building, and more during your last year. Additionally, if you need roommates, see if any of your friends or peers have similar plans.

2. Schedule That Fun Class

On the other side, part of your last year is about taking care of yourself. If you don’t have enough classes to meet full-time status or have a free elective, consider taking a fun class. Something you’ve always been interested in, but there just wasn’t time. Or that wasn’t part of your major, and you were scared to “waste” time on. Maybe it’s poetry or astronomy or dance. Whatever your interest, allow yourself to have some fun before graduating college.

This class may help you avoid burnout, lower stress, and express yourself. Indeed, the final semesters of any degree can be stressful. As we said, they may consist of internships, theses, and capstone courses, which require a lot of work. Don’t be afraid to have one class that isn’t part of your major.

3. Talk to Career Services

Students should talk to career services well before graduating college. Preferably, they should book a meeting in their first semester. The conversations you have there can be productive and shape your educational goals. However, most put it off until the last second or don’t go at all.

You really shouldn’t waste the resources career services has to offer. Many colleges provide mock interviews, resume building, personality evaluations, and job hunting help. They can help you determine which field fits your wants and needs and can help you achieve your goals. Many career service representatives are willing to go the extra mile to see what any industry offers. Thus, they can find positions you didn’t even know existed. Ultimately, they’re a great resource from beginning to end.

So, whether you’ve put off the visit entirely or have been going since your first year, now is a good time to reach out.

self care, yoga on the beach

4. Engage in Self-Care

Understandably, many students stress out during their final year for the reasons we listed above. They want to make the most of their time before graduating college and forget to take care of themselves. Sleep, healthy eating habits, and socializing go out the window. They get burnt out, and the quality of their work drops. Maybe they even sleep through an important test. Alternatively, students may get so stressed out that they get “senioritis.” They lose all motivation, skip classes, and don’t bother to turn work in.

Whether they’re pushing themselves into burnout or disengaging with their work, students end up with poorer grades and sometimes repeat a semester. Thus, self-care is important in your final year. Part of your plan needs to include relaxation, friends, and fun.

5. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Truly, it’s easy to get into a routine in college. You go to class in the same building, live in the same dorm, and eat in the same places. Then, four years later, you realize you never even went to the coffee shop on the other side of campus.

In many ways, your final year is a great time to get out of your comfort zone. You can explore different aspects of student life, visit those buildings you never entered, and take interesting courses unrelated to your major. Off-campus, you can try new things like different cuisines, hobbies, and events. Basically, university is a great time for self-exploration and self-expression. Make sure you break out of your routine a bit to enjoy it.

Consider making a bucket list of everything you want to try before graduating college, even if it’s something as small as trying sushi for the first time.

6. Enjoy Campus Activities

Many students go their entire educational career without going to college events. Maybe the theatre department puts on plays, or your school has sports teams who play on campus. Alternatively, departments might have speakers come in, such as visiting authors. Not only are these events great for networking, but you might also find yourself having fun.

Before graduating college, make yourself go out one evening. Even if you’re not a football fan, try attending a game with friends. In the end, you may find yourself with some great memories. And it will help you avoid that senior-year burnout.

friends hanging out, enjoying nature

7. Enjoy Time With Your Friends

Finally, you should make you make time for your friends. Undoubtedly, there’s a lot you need to do in your senior year. Don’t let yourself get too caught up in the work, as you may not be able to see some of your friends for months or even years after graduating college.

It can be hard to think that the people you’ve spent the last four or more years with won’t be a part of everyday life after graduation. But life moves on, and you may find yourselves in different states. Technology allows us to stay in close contact, but it’s not the same. You may stay friends for years or decades in the future, but most of us won’t see each other every day. Thus, you should make the most of the time while you have it.

Take them to those events, have a sleepover, and just have fun. And don’t forget to start making plans with them for the future, too. 

Final Thoughts

Lakewood University is an accredited online school that offers a variety of degree and certificate programs. We have rolling enrollments and asynchronous courses. In other words, you don’t have to worry about missing a lecture or running late to class. If you plan on enrolling in college while working, Lakewood University offers the flexibility you need to earn your degree.

Don’t hesitate – reach out to our admissions department today to learn more!