“It’s okay to freak out and be sad. I know I am,” said Corina Azpurua, a University of Miami senior majoring in advertising and interactive media. “Graduating brings about a lot of mixed feelings, but live and enjoy them. It is such an amazing accomplishment.”
Maybe you’re taking a gap year, already have a job lined up, are planning to travel or preparing for graduate school. Whatever it is, life after graduation can be exciting yet nerve-racking. Let’s talk about it.
Elliot Christopher Cleven, a chemistry major graduating in fall 2021, mentioned that if you want your GPA to stay intact, be sure to “work ahead so that you can spend time with your friends and leave feeling fulfilled.”
“I think preparing for graduation starts your first day of freshman year. It is good to have a plan of attack so you know what classes you need to get done,” said Kristine Padgett, a fall 2020 graduate who majored in pre-physical therapy and minored in sports medicine.
Padgett also mentioned that it’s good to remember that plans can also change and that it’s okay if everything changes for you: “My path to graduation changed several times before I finally knew I was on the right track to where I wanted to go.”
Ava Mila Burstyn, a fall 2019 graduate who majored in psychology and minored in human and social development and sociology, said that it’s crucial that you “develop productive study habits, time management skills and self-care practices” while in school. These skills won’t just help you in college but in the future as well.
Tasks can become increasingly overwhelming, and it’s completely normal to feel lost at times. Remember that many other students feel this way and that UM provides many services to help you find your career path in life and the next vital steps you need to take. Padgett noted that it’s okay to ask for help.
“There are a lot of resources out there to help you with almost anything. Just be open-minded and take time for others and yourself along the way, because you never know when those connections can help you later in life,” she said.
When graduation comes closer, it’s essential to recognize how necessary and helpful connections can be. They may be fellow students, professors, mentors and role models. Networking can be more challenging now than ever now due to COVID-19, so all students should have LinkedIn and Handshake profiles. Work on branding yourself and showcasing your skills and strengths.
Christopher Salomon, a senior majoring in creative advertising, mimicked these sentiments: “What has gotten me interviews and entries into the door is networking. It’s a great tool to make something happen. I would advise any student to network with someone that you know or have similar likes and interests with. It’s your best friend possible.”
Austin Jack Malow Pert, a senior journalism major and sports administration minor graduating this spring, said that “you can never have enough people to lean on. At the same time, you can never have too many professional networks. Use them to your advantage, because you [will] need them after graduation.”
When preparing for graduation, students should keep in mind that it’s not just about attending classes and getting good grades. It’s also about what you do outside of your studies. Whether it be an internship, a school club or organization or an extra course of interest you take on the side, this is what will set you apart from millions of students also looking for jobs.
Remember that graduating is a huge achievement that not everyone is granted, so take time to reflect on the past few years and all the accomplishments, sacrifices and memories made along the way. Be proud of yourself, and know that as a new graduate, one is not expected to know it all.
“Embrace the fact that you’re still learning, and you’re not expected to have everything figured out as a recent college grad. While you may look up to others, do not compare your overall journey to theirs, we all have different routes to success,” Burstyn said.” Also, don’t always search for the ‘perfect’ job or grad school. Discovering what you don’t enjoy is as beneficial as discovering what you do enjoy.”
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