After this, there will be a fun college moment when you think to yourself, “Nah, this place isn’t half bad.” If not, bask in the fact that you’re within walking distance to most of your friends, food and entertainment.
Once graduation application paperwork gets underway and you’re near the finish, most students end up thinking about college like a pregnant woman thinks of food. One day you wish you were back in freshman year. The next, you have to drive an hour and a half to school to get a signature and go back to thinking, “I just want my diploma already!”
I’ll be blunt: the way some react to these feelings is a little ridiculous. Here is a list of the top things not to do while anticipating graduation:
-DON’T complain to every friend you have. Feel lucky you will soon be a college graduate (although who am I kidding, that doesn’t mean much anymore…)
-DON’T brag about the fact you are graduating early or enjoying college for a few extra semesters
-DON’T try to pretend you’re not nervous about entering the 2013 job market.
-DON’T continuously talk about the fact you’re graduating.
-DON’T be that person that is always around campus a year or two after they graduated.
-DON’T brag about how your B.S. degree is so much better than a B.A.
College is the prime of your life. Graduation is a big step, but let’s not get too overdramatic now. I too cried at the graduation episode of Laguna Beach, but that doesn’t mean we need to obsess months in advance. Savor your last months, prepare for graduation, but don’t talk about it 24/7!
This is not a time to…
…just be drifting.
If you are a semester away from graduation (as I am) or even two, chances are you’re on the brink of a nervous breakdown similar to the one you felt before graduating high school.
Preparation is what will ultimately calm your nerves. Putting off preparation will just make everything worse.
It’s like the time you lied to your parents and realized you had to come clean but instead of going home and facing them, you hid out in your friend’s room for a week.
Sometimes you’ve got to rip off the band-aid.
Preparation is different for every major. Are you going to grad school or law school? If so, you better research and study for the GRE’s. Are you a liberal arts major? Chances are, there is no one path to take, just like there is no one step-by-step plan to becoming a full-fledged successful journalist. This could be extra scary.
1. Talk to professors
2. Talk with your school’s career center if you haven’t had a good professor you can talk with about this stuff, or just get another opinion from them
3. Internships, internships, internships
a. Many jobs look for experience. Sitting in a classroom gets you a degree, but nothing in terms of actual experience. If you find yourself asking where you get this experience, apply for internships and fellowships.
4. Shadow your parents’ friends who have cool jobs
5. Don’t get discouraged
It is never too early to start preparing. It takes the average graduate three months to get a job, so applying for internships and entry-level jobs before your last semester is appropriate.
If those nerves are hitting hard, remember. The more prep work you do before your diploma, the more confident you will be walking across that stage (unless you’re in heels).
Single or double? Single or double? Student housing is always a nightmare. No matter how many credits you have, how many friends you have or how awesome your school’s housing is, housing is as frustrating as registering for classes. The people will either be the people in your wedding party, or the people you hope you never see ever, ever again. Some will fade away with no hard feelings, but some you will look back in pure frustration.
A deciding factor in the question “will my roommates be a dream or a nightmare” is if you live in a single or double. Sometimes, it is a lot easier to put up with:
Photo credit: codeblab.com
…when you have your own clean room to go back to.
Some things to consider when deciding between a single room and a double room:
- Your own level of cleanliness
- Inviting guests
- Could get lonely
- Wake up/sleep whenever is convenient
- More expensive
- More individual space
- You have what you bring
How much time do you spend in your room? Will you have other suitemates?
- Someone else’s level of cleanliness
- Roommate’s guests
- Always someone around
- Privacy? What privacy?
- Sleeping with your roommate’s light on
- Saving money
- More space but shared
- Shared tv, mirror, printer
If you find yourself on moving day, kicking yourself that you’ve made the wrong decision, have hope! Most schools will let you switch rooms after two weeks.
It’s bad enough to know that after graduation, everything is going to change. Wait, I won’t be able to walk to my friends’ rooms anymore? Already made food isn’t a 100m walk and swipe away? I can’t choose my schedule each semester? Paying rent isn’t once every four months? Once graduation hits, life as we know it changes, but how much has to change?
Where you live after graduation is based on so many different factors:
Can you live with family?
Are there jobs in your field in your area?
Can you commute to an area that has jobs?
Can you afford the commute?
Will you be finding an apartment?
Will you have roommates?
Do you have the guts to move away to a place you don’t know anyone?
There are so many things to think about, it can be overwhelming. Forget can be, it will be overwhelming.
Depending on your field and your luck in the opportunities available near the place you’ll be living, moving could make most sense for your resume and career. Although finances is the biggest factor in moving, what you might not realize is that moving could benefit your career more than staying home and settling for a job lower than your qualifications.
Living with family might not be ideal, but it usually makes most sense financially. There are a few ways to get out of your house without breaking the bank though:
- Residencies: Some internship opportunities will provide housing, utilities and provide food stipends. These jobs won’t build your savings account, but your expenses will the low to say the least. Residencies also give you a great way to test out a job, as you would be focused on your career without distraction. Residencies usually last six months to a year.
- Fellowships: Fellowships can be found domestic and international. They provide incredible opportunities and will give you an experience like none other. Benefits vary, but fellows are often provided with full access to events and sources like a regularly employed person.
Aside from these opportunities, internships abroad is another way to go, but unfortunately, the safest way to intern abroad is through a program, and many programs overcharge. Also, internships abroad provide a false sense that your experience abroad will be superior to an experience in a different part of theUnited States.
When you are choosing which path to take, my best advice: do whatever is best for you, not anyone else. Balance short-term sacrifice and benefits with long-term. The world is wide open to you, but you have to decide to go out and knock on doors because no one will come to you with a job. Figure out what you want and don’t be afraid to go out and get it.
What’s the deal with office dogs? CNN has defended cubical cuddles with office dogs as they can reduce stress, but what happens when the dog underfoot isn’t so friendly?
Even as a dog person, you may not be able to handle a pooch who isn’t a people person. Well, a dog who doesn’t like people… you know what I mean.
Imagine sitting at a desk way back in high school when you were not in control of where and how long you’d be working. Now envision your teacher and principle in the room because at an internship you’ve got your boss and your boss’s boss and sometimes even your boss’s boss’s boss around. Now picture being one of five freshman in a sea of seniors. This is what an average internship experience is like.
Now add a mean barking dog to the mix.
I love dogs. My dog is sweet and sensitive: he gets excited when you come home happy but will follow underfoot curling up to you when you’ve had a long day. It took a couple of dog sitting jobs to realize that not all dogs are like this, and I have gotten spoiled over the years with the sweetest dog.
I think if there was a dog like mine in a work environment, workers would be a bit more relaxed, possibly sometimes distracted. I have worked in offices with dogs in the past and unfortunately, all of them only added to the tense workplace.
My best advice to dealing with the office dog is to ask co-workers for Tylenol in front of a boss while the dog is barking. Unfortunately, this is a situation that is out of your control and you will have to learn to deal.
Even if you’re a commuter, eventually you will reach the point where going to your childhood room just isn’t the same. This moment seems to hit a bit earlier for us travelers or students who go far away to school. We build up going home so much in our head, but sometimes it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
Your family might come together for your favorite meal…
…your sibling(s) might be extra rude now that you’re home…
…and the house could be louder than ever…
…but it’s just not the same.
Sometimes you need to just give it time, but it’s already half way through July and I still don’t feel like my house is my home anymore. Anyone agree?
Once you’ve gone out in the world and built yourself a home somewhere else, whether it be your college dorm or apartment, making a new place to live seems to take a little bit of the hominess that your childhood home has. The first time you call another place home aside from your childhood home is always a bit of a shock. Home becomes your apartment and home home becomes your parents’ house. Eventually, we all end up calling our old home “my parents’ house.” What a scary thought. I guess that’s called growing up.
Imagine life in college without classes. Seems like the dream right? While taking time off from school seems like the new thing to do, there is a difference between doing it during collegiate years and taking some time off afterwards, known as a gap year.
Don’t worry, I’m not about to morph into a celebrity or athlete and run with the “stay in school kids” speech. I’ll simply say that when the Celtics beat the Sixers to get to the Eastern Conference, they did it off Rondo’s momentum.
Now that I’ve been so convincing and you plan to finish your degree then take a gap year, what are you planning to do with your time?
Going home and living off Mom and Dad is as exciting as, well its not. Plus, you are a college graduate. Unfortunately, that does not hold as much weight in 2012 as it did when the first New College (now Harvard) graduates walked. Even still, living financially independent is a step into becoming mature and adult (pronounced ah-dult). Anything spending you do will be more appreciated and taken more seriously if you make the money yourself. If you are planning to travel, why not take a few months to make the money first while you research where and what you will be doing.
There are tons of different ways to spend your gap year. Colleen Kinder’s Delaying the Real World details hundreds of opportunities. It is incredible how open the world really is to us; just because we don’t see the doors open to us does not mean they are not there. Kinder’s book helps recent grads discover those doors.
The book does not simply list the options but is well organized and breaks up the information with real life examples, stories of ex-pats, those who have traveled with companies, and other adventurous alumni.
From teaching English abroad to biking across the country for a charity to interning abroad in your field, you can make your gap year be a time that will give you the excitement you crave while also giving you something to place on your resume.
Traveling is something that can set you apart from the crowd. By traveling I don’t mean packing up the car and driving a state or two away. Professional travel, working for a school, volunteering, interning abroad, etc. is an incredible talking point in interviews. Plus, the travel will probably be more accepted by anyone who is helping to fund the trip…
No matter what you plan to do the summer before or after senior year, if you decided to take a gap year after college or get right down to business, remember that there is only one time in your life that you get to be the age you are.
The end of the year doesn’t just mean your classes are ending, it means the end of your meal plan too. Many of us get caught realizing this too little too late. If you are in need to stretch your meal plan to keep you fueled up during final time, check out these tips:
One option is to simply add more to your meal plan. This is most likely the most expensive but most convenient route.
Does your school let you take a meal to go? This could be used to your advantage. Fill up that to go box with the two P’s, produce and protein. Most dishes can be stretched easily. Going to the grocery store or local farmer’s market for lettuce to stretch out cafeteria dishes by making them salads. Some cafeterias I have eaten at have a Taqueria or Mexican section. Filling up a to go box with shredded chicken and salsa can be stretched by making a Mexican salad in your dorm. Other dishes can be stretched out with rice or pasta. Make it healthy and look for multigrain, which sometimes only costs a few cents extra. To go boxes also leave you with more than one meal, even by an athlete’s standards. This way, using one block or meal can end up providing you with a couple meals.
Pick your meals wisely. If you have a big breakfast, could you make it to dinner with only a few snacks? Breakfast is the cheapest meal to eat in your room as you can get cereal, a large tub of yogurt, box of farina, carton of eggs (if you have stove access) or a large tin of oatmeal each of which are not costly and will last. If you factor out that you can have one meal in the cafeteria a day, make it lunch. This way you will be most full in the middle of the day, good for your budget and good for you digestion. You will need some dinner meals though. Some cheap but healthy dinner items to stock up on are rice, beans, soup, frozen veggies, and frozen dinners. A word on frozen dinners: be sure to check the Nutrition Facts to see how much food you are getting for the price. I have found that Healthy Choice meals give you more food for the same price and quality as Lean Cuisine.
If most of your meal plan is consumed by coffee (and/or tea), price out how much you can save by buying instant coffee or tea packets in bulk. I know what you’re thinking, instant coffee is nothing to your Starbucks Frappuccino. Some instant cappuccino mixes are surprisingly satisfying. General Foods International’s 100-Calorie Packs of French Vanilla Cappuccino Mix is a personal favorite and cheaper than my usual Starbucks order.
Although I am not advising anyone to go on a liquid diet, staying hydrated can keep you feeling full longer. Make sure to drink water or herbal tea throughout the day. This is especially important as there is a lot of salt in Ramen, a classic college staple food.
Just think that in a few weeks, you will be home eating as you’re used to.
Be sure to make the transition gradually. This goes out to the freshman especially as they have never gone through this before. I remember the first time I came home after college, I slept for 15 hours and was in the worst physical shape I had ever been. I ended up getting pretty sick for a few days too. Be sure to get your rest, but set an alarm so you do not over sleep or you will have no energy the next day. Getting your body used to drastically different sleep schedules doesn’t happen overnight (I know, I know, I’m sorry but I had to).
This gradual transition tip also goes for caffeine. Going from a constant IV drip of caffeine to none at all can leave you with mild to severe headaches, insomnia or exhaustion, irritability, constipation, lack of concentration, etc. Tone down your caffeine once you get home and get back on your home schedule, but do not cut it out completely. Reduce your intake and form of intake. For instance, if you were drinking energy drinks, try having a small amount of coffee the next day for caffeine, then black tea, then white tea. Some are more sensitive than others to caffeine shifts; be sure to listen to your body.
If you travel far for school, you may even feel a bit of culture shock when going back home for a few months. Try to do some things at home that you would have normally done at school. Keeping a similar schedule. Work out the same time you would if you were at school. Simply staying busy can be a good idea. You may end up feeling restless or bored, feeling stuck at home instead of living the exciting college lifestyle. In college, you are surrounded by people. If you go home to the suburbs or a rural area, you may feel a bit isolated at times. Be sure to stay busy catching up with family and friends not just getting right into your summer work schedule (if you have one). Keeping in touch with friends from school can be good too, but be sure to live in the present and interact with the people who are physically around you.
Having things to look forward to in this regard can do you some good. Getting a couple friends together for a road trip, sports game, or concert can be just the thing you need to get through the hours at a boring summer job.
If you do find yourself with a day completely free and bored, remember that it was only a few weeks ago that you were stressed out beyond belief, and there weren’t enough hours in the day. Enjoy the days when you’ve got nothing to do since before you know it, you will be a graduate and enter the real world where there are no summers when you’re completely off.
The last weeks of the semester may be the most stressful time of the year. Fortunately, there has been a surge in entertainment. Between sports, movies, and television, there are tons of fun things to keep up on while taking a break between writing papers.
Note that I call it a break, not a distraction. Once you begin to neglect schoolwork for something fun, that is a distraction, something to avoid. To be fair, no one can work the entire weekend. Taking breaks are important to not overwork yourself, which can lead to crashing, getting sick, and becoming less productive. Be sure to time your breaks to ensure that you get all of your work done before deadlines come around!
Here are some of the things you can keep track of while taking that much needed break:
The first round of NBA playoffs has started. Keep track of the bracket while writing those papers. Watching an exciting game can get you blood pumping and spark some energy to finish your work. Thus far, in the West, the Spurs are up two-nothing to the Utah Jazz, Thunder is shutting down the Mavericks three-zero, the Lakers are up on the Nuggets two-one, and Grizzlies and Clippers are tied at one game a piece. In the East, the Celtics are up two-one on the Hawks, Pacers are up three-one on Magic, Heat is sweeping the Knicks three-zero and the 76ers are up one on the Bulls two-one.
The NHL is in their second round of Stanley Cup Playoffs: 3-0 Kings, 1-3 Coyotes, 2-1 Devils and the Capitals and Rangers are tied 2-2 so far this season. Once your eyes become blurred by the multiple hours of staring at books and writing, check out a video update by Hockey Analyst Barry Melrose.
If sports are not your thing, “The Avengers” have just come out in theaters, bringing in $80.5 million on opening day, the second most successful opening day. Too busy to know what the movie’s about? Check out the trailer here. When your brain is in zombie mode after hours of homework, you might be overwhelmed with seeing building blowing up in this action packed movie. Some comedies in theaters are “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” “LOL,” “Think Like a Man,” and “The Five-Year Engagement.” Just like the holiday season, the start of summer means some good movies. A couple hours of relaxing in one of these or another movie could be the perfect break you are looking for.
Although the Hunger Games hype is dying down, it is never too late to discover the series. The quality of many recent book and movie series’ has been debated, but I can vouch for this one. Why not unwind with a very well written suspenseful story?
Enjoy those breaks; just be sure to eventually get back to work!
I’m reading How Children Develop