Entering your last semesters of college, your schedule—and emotions—is likely overwhelmed. However, while finishing your final days as a college student, it’s important to start preparing for the months after you’ve donned the cap and gown and walked across that graduation stage.
Of course, you’re busy enough trying to juggle your final assignments, tests, essays, and maybe even a capstone project. Nevertheless, putting in the time to better secure your life after college will make the upcoming chapter a bit easier. Here are a few important “adult” things that will need your attention sooner rather than later.
Focus on your résumé
By the time you’re ready to graduate, you’ve likely already had to draft a résumé for one of those early foundational classes as a freshman. However, you also likely haven’t touched that résumé since completing the course, and in the years after that class, you definitely have more skills that are worth adding to it.
Some skills you’ve acquired that you might not think to include are “interpersonal” ones. Interpersonal skills are a great option to list if you don’t have a lot of work experience post-graduation. Résumé experts explain that “Interpersonal skills (or communication skills) are your abilities to interact and communicate with other people. Whichever job you’re applying for, it’s important to have strong interpersonal skills, as it’s important to build relationships with colleagues, managers, clients, and customers.”
Interpersonal skills show your future employers that you can create friendly, long-term relationships, which benefits the company in the long run, and makes you a desirable candidate.
You might be wondering what specific interpersonal skills employers look for. A few significant ones include:
- Emotional intelligence
- Transparency (honest communication)
- Negotiation skills
- Confident speaking
Expanding and fine-tuning your résumé before graduation means you can start applying for jobs sooner rather than later, allowing you to take your time searching for the right one. Furthermore, while you’re still a student, you should take advantage of your school’s writing center to help perfect the grammar, structure, and tone of your résumé.
Transitioning from college to career isn’t always easy, but preparing for it beforehand can certainly make the transition smoother and less stressful.
Get ahead with a move-out checklist
Another way to make the post-graduation transition smoother is by starting preparations to move out of your current on-campus apartment, dorm room, or city during your last semester. Depending on your plans after college, chances are they don’t involve living near your old campus. With that in mind, besides giving your landlord your 30-day notice, starting on your move-out checklist in advance can reduce some of the stress that comes with moving out.
If you have any hopes of getting your deposit back, you need to repair any issues in your place and clean out those forgotten nooks and crannies. College life undoubtedly gets hectic, but that also means your apartment or dorm room has seen better days. As Life Storage suggests, before your move out, “ask for a copy of the lease and review the specifics regarding how much notice you give, who is responsible for cleaning, and other important protocol items. Prepare a list for yourself of what areas of the apartment need repair or fixing before your landlord walks through your apartment for final inspection!” This includes patching up walls and asking the superintendent or landlord about items they need to fix, like plumbing and heating, electrical, and other maintenance repairs.
Of course, you’ll be busy with deadlines, internships, and finals. But taking a few weekends during your last semester to put a little elbow grease into your place can ease that post-graduation panic. Plus, it’s always nice to have that extra cash if you manage to get some or all of your deposit back!
Take a (quick) trip down memory lane
Your last semesters often involve a mile-long checklist of everything you need to get done before graduation. However, it’s equally important to stop and enjoy these twilight days of college. The last couple years have been full of growth, trials and errors, new friendships and opportunities, and more. Reflecting back on your time from a wide-eyed freshman to a determined, experienced senior allows you to appreciate all the hard work you’ve been putting in the last few years.
Stop to look around your campus and cherish all the memories you’ve made. The buildings, the teachers, the constant buzz of the cafeteria—they’re all a part of your time as a student (good and bad). It’s worth reaching out to the professors who had a significant impact on your life and thanking them. It’s also a great idea to invite the people you first connected with as a freshman to have coffee in the quad or outside the dorms, especially if you haven’t talked to them in a while.
Don’t be afraid to snap pictures either! Capturing all those unique spots on your campus—the ridiculous statue of your school’s mascot in the student union building or the gaggle of geese that are always foraging around campus—can help you remember your days as a student. Sadly, a lot of college memories tend to fade over time. That’s why—although it might seem cheesy—now is the time to stop and smell the roses.
In the chaos of your final college semester, you might be feeling stretched a little too thin. That’s completely understandable, but it’s also worth getting ahead of those important matters that always arrive shortly after graduation. You’ve made it this far, and with the right kind of focus, you can achieve not only your college goals but kick-start your (successful!) life post-graduation. Congratulations and good luck!