Your final semester came in like a wrecking ball and soon you will have to face reality, but for now you should concentrate on making your last semester of college a memorable one. Whether you are attending grad school, already have a job lined up, or still have no idea what you’re going to do with your life, the upcoming months with few responsibilities should be celebrated.
Before you are officially a college graduate, make sure you pack in these 10 essential lessons.
1. Hit all the happy hours.
Yes, adulthood has happy hours too, but you will never again be able to get a ‘you call it’ for $2 quite like the one in your college town. Go out on a Tuesday to get $1 pitchers because professors are much more understanding than your future boss will be.
2. Find the library.
Your campus might have a few (mine didn’t, but I hear that’s a thing), but find the main library on campus and go study there. Most libraries have silent study areas, so if you have trouble focusing, it’s the place for you. You’ll be amazed how much work you can actually get done with little distraction.
3. Start saving.
You get a 6-month grace period before Sallie Mae™ starts asking for her money back, so take advantage! If you don’t have student loans, good for you, but still start saving. There will always be more nights out and new restaurants, but if you leave after happy hour, your future self will thank you.
Credit cards are fun… until they aren’t. If you’re already in debt, don’t make it worse. It’s smart to have one to build credit and for any unforeseen expenses, but be honest with yourself: upgrading last year’s handbag is not an emergency.
4. Make your social media private.
Hide anything you wouldn’t want grandma to see. Your potential employers (and coworkers) are looking and don’t care about your spring break trip to Mexico. Delete anything offensive and make sure you don’t have a glass of chardonnay in hand in EVERY picture. You’ll make plenty of social media appropriate memories in adulthood.
5. Care about your health.
It’s time to start really caring about your physical and mental health. Drink more water. Go to the gym. Visit the doctor and dentist regularly. On top of hangovers lasting longer, you will find that the mac and cheese and noodle cups that used to sustain you in college won’t do the trick for much longer.
6. Thank your parents.
Or whoever supported you, financially or emotionally. Thank your friends, because without them you wouldn’t be leaving with the same memories. Thank your professors for helping you graduate. People love to know they’re appreciated - especially when they’ve invested in your education.
7. Apply for internships, jobs, and grad school.
You may not have a set plan for what you’re doing, so start applying for everything. Ask advice from people you admire, and start networking with family and friends. An opportunity may present itself that might just lay the path to a rewarding career.
8. Stay out all night.
Not the all-nighters you pulled to study, the fun kind! Have a night on the town, and top if off with breakfast at the 24-hour diner that serves up the best greasy bacon and eggs. It’s healthy to blow off steam, and bonding with your college buddies will cement your friendships into adulthood.
9. Visit the career center.
It’s there for a reason. Learn to write a proper cover letter, resume, and thank you note. They also have plenty of connections and opportunities to find internships or jobs. You’d be surprised how many alumni are ready to help new grads!
10. Put down the phone!
Stop cheating yourself and start thinking again. You know more than you realize and if you take a second to use your brain, you’ll start to be less dependent on Google™ for all the answers. Be present in the moment, and start taking mental pictures instead of posting your entire life to Instagram.
College isn’t easy, and real life isn’t exactly a cakewalk. Sleeping in and skipping class will be a thing of the past. Prepare for the future the best you can, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you haven’t nailed a job just yet. Enjoy these last few months, when it’s okay to still be figuring it all out.
By the way, congratulations!
GIFs from: Giphy
Feature image by: Richard Cavalleri