Months into a pandemic that has virtually affected every aspect of life (no pun intended), a segment of the population find themselves at an important transitioning point.
Yes, I am talking to college seniors.
Being one myself, I can relate that the last two semesters have come with their fair share of ups and downs--for many, more downs than ups. And now, as we look toward what comes next, the uncertainty weighs down on top of the normal college stress.
Along with all of the normal questions a college senior faces, pandemic infused worries add to our doubts. Will my first job be virtual, hybrid, in person? Should I have taken time off instead of trying to study through these socially-distant semesters? Will I even have a commencement ceremony? How will I be able to find a job where I am content? -- Well, that one I believe every college senior faces, pandemic or not.
As I struggle with these questions myself, here are some reminders to keep us seniors grounded as we enter into our last semester of college, from senior to senior:
1. Acknowledge the loss.
Although the pandemic effect’s are close to becoming numb and normalized, it’s okay to still have those moments. This year is not what any of us would have expected. Our college experience has been tainted by online learning, socially distant gatherings, and quarantines. I for one can not wait for the day when a medical professional says “social distancing is no longer necessary.”
I remember hearing this kind of advice going to the graduates in 2020, and I think it is equally valuable for us to hear. Pretending this is how we all wanted it to be isn’t helping anything. That being said, do not dwell too long on what you can not control and...
2. Soak up your last semester!
You are still a college student. Soak it up! Take advantage of student discounts, avoiding responsibilities like cooking and paying electric bills (if you board on campus), professors’ knowledge, and campus resources. Depending on your plans post-graduation, when is the next time your primary concern in life will be being a student? While each campus looks different this semester and some are more “normal” than others, you are still studying. I’m not sure about you, but I am thankful for that!
Is there something you’ve always imagined doing during college, but haven’t done yet? Now is the time! Make those memories now and cherish them forever. Take the time to reflect on your college years, thank those that helped you along the way, and finish well.
3. Remember that your first job is just the beginning.
Yes, there is a lot of importance when it comes to choosing your right first job, from potential networking and growth opportunities, financial security and success, and personal fulfillment. But, when all is said and done, it is easy to get too caught up in searching for the “perfect job.” Balance the big questions with seemingly smaller ones like: Would I enjoy doing this work? Do I want to get to know this company and these people better? Reminisce back to your college search and ask the question you did then--can I see myself fitting in here?
Close your eyes.
Take a deep breath.
Everything is going to be alright.
Your fellow senior
Contributing Writer Grace Bloomquist is enjoying her last semester of college at St. Olaf College. Though she is a Theater Major with a Management Studies Concentration, the pandemic has greatly affected her career plans and trajectory. Upon reflection, Grace has realized that whatever she does, she wants to be working with people--understanding that there is power in collaboration and teamwork.