Being a senior is both an exciting and challenging time. You are so close to being done, but there is so much to do to prepare for the next step.
Some of you are applying, or even have been accepted, to grad school, while others are going off to work. Some of you are just trying to make it to May.
Whatever your post-grad plans are, it’s important to remember what you have accomplished, and to keep yourself motivated during this busy and transitional time.
Patricia Gaynor, assistant director of the CSUN Career Center, is proud of the services they offer to help with students during this transitional time.
The career center, she says, works with “anything having to do with seniors, employment, getting out there and getting into the real world.”
Events they have hosted this semester to help seniors get out there and get ready include Resumania and Interview Frenzy. There are also jobs fairs yet to come, she notes, and the CSUN Alumni Association is there to help out with this transitional period too.
Resumania even gave students the chance to take their own professional photo for LinkedIn.
“You all should be getting on LinkedIn, forget about Facebook,” Gaynor sad.
For those who missed it, Resumania will happen again in fall.
“Start looking into what they (employers are looking for,” Gaynor said. “Go to the job fairs, go to the graduate job fair, and talk to the employers”
It’s important to familiarize yourself with what kind of jobs you want, what they require and who they are really looking for.
She advises seniors to do anything they can to be “one more higher on the stack of resumes.”
In terms of being a senior and beating burnout, Gaynor calls the motivation to push through something “that has to be in you.”
It is a busy time being a senior, especially trying to prepare for the next step, while simultaneously finishing your current coursework. Let’s be honest, some days you just want to relax.
However, you can’t loose sight of your goal, and there are ways to keep this busy time balanced.
“You need to schedule yourself,” Gaynor said. “An hour here a day. An hour of that a day. As it gets closer and such, that’s when you need to go and see a silly movie with your friend.
Scheduling will help far more than staying up all night, Gaynor said.
“Cramming doesn’t work,”Gaynor said. “It doesn’t hurt to read over everything before you go to sleep, but just staying up all night and being exhausted, and drinking coffee isn’t going to help. All that’s going to do is give you the jitters and make it worse.”
It’s important to work hard, and keep your eyes on the goal you have worked years for, but it is also crucial to be treating your body right to even keep yourself pushing to the end.
“You don’t want to loose sight of things, but do take that time, and meet someone for lunch,” Gaynor said.
Danielle Spratt, English assistant professor, adviser for the JYI/FYI teacher prep program and assistant director of community engagement at CSUN, has some advice for seniors during this transitional time.
“I think the biggest thing that’s helpful is trying to link the work you’re doing in the classroom, to outside activities,” Spratt said. “Getting involved in campus activities can help guide people to life after college, and also just make the experience better while they are here.”
These can take the form of clubs, experimental and service learning, as well as community engagement.
“We’ve had a lot of students that have ended up working in community office on campus, and even in the LA area… a lot of them have gotten jobs and internships this way,” Spratt said.
It’s important to branch out during your time here, especially as a senior.
As students, we all have had our own experience in college, and advice to keep ourselves going as well as rising and graduating seniors.
Estelle Robinson, 21, public health major, is a graduating senior that advises students to get involved while they can.
“There’s so much the USU always puts on,” Robinson said. “I wish I had done more.”
Like many others, Robinson is extremely busy during this time. For relief, she recommends working out to “get those endorphins going,” and help relieve stress or just bring balance to the semester.
Robinson will be continuing her education in September at UCLA.
“This was another motivator while I was here. I worked so hard in college so I could be able to go to a UC,” Robinson said. “I wouldn’t want them to see my final transcripts and then see she worked so hard, and her final semester she fell off the boat.”
Robinson encourages students to work hard this semester and finish strong. This is not a time to let up, it’s a time to work harder and let determination beat burnout.
“It’s really easy to forget what got you to this point now,” Robinson said. “Just be retrospective and remember this is the final point, you’re almost to the finish line. You wouldn’t want to see all your hard work go to waste.”
Ziv Biton, 26, creative writing major, is also a graduating senior this Spring, but his experience is a little unique.
“I’m very excited to graduate,” Biton said. “But there is also restlessness to it. I mean, I’ve been in college for like 7 years. I’m a super-duper senior. It isn’t easy paying your own way through school and trying to get classes in this climate. So, while it is gratifying to be finishing this up, it also feels like it’s about damn time.”
As part of his post grad-plans, he plans to go to New York.
“I’m most excited to walk off that graduation stage and walk onto a plane,” Biton said. “I’m flying out of here as soon as I get that slip.”
He does feel burnt out, but determination is keeping him going.
“To get to this point has been exhausting, but I’m really proud of myself for pulling this off,” Biton said. “I’ll be the first person in my immediate family to graduate.”
He thanks music and extracurricular activities for keeping him balanced.
“I do music journalism on the side,” Biton said. “Writing album reviews, and interviewing some of my favorite bands has really kept me focused and excited for what’s to come.”
On top of this, Biton finished his first book this semester, and has just signed for his second.
“I have been very blessed that my writing has started falling into place,” Biton said. “I am very excited for post-grad life.”
In terms of advice on getting ahead, Biton advises students to start right away.
“Don’t wait for anyone. Don’t wait for anything. Especially if you are doing something creative. Creativity doesn’t care about your diplomas. Nobody cares about anything other than what you have produced. So start producing and produce a lot. Don’t ever stop. Everyone starts somewhere,” Biton said.
Jeremy Huang, 24, phycology major advises rising seniors to work hard but take their time. Huang will be graduating in May.
“College is where you try to discover yourself,” Biton said. “Don’t rush into graduating. Your day will come, as you know it. Cherish your last moments, as a college student because you will probably won’t have this much freedom for a long time once you start working. It’ll be worth the wait.”
Sonya Livingston, 22, English major, will be graduating in May with her bachelor’s degree and teaching credentials.
Very busy, Sonya has managed to make time for school, work, rugby and her boyfriend this semester. With a positive attitude, she encourages students to have the same mentality and set goals for themselves.
“At times, I feel that I am too busy, but regardless I always make time for myself. I never allow myself to feel beat down and I take everything day by day,” Livingston said. “This semester my procrastination has improved tremendously because I have set a goal to graduate with a 4.0 GPA this semester. It is week nine, and so far, I have accomplished my goal. Setting goals is too what helps motivate me to be successful in every activity I am a part of.”
Cindy Vazquez, 21, business management major, is graduating next year with a minor in finance.
While it is easy to become burnt out, Vazquez manages to balance work and play during this time.
“During the week, I designate all my time for homework, studying and work,” Vazquez said. “Once the weekend hits, I usually give myself Friday and Saturday to hang out with friends, family, and my boyfriend.”
A first generation college graduate, Vazquez is excited to spend the summer relaxing with friends and family.
“I want to also celebrate by planning a trip to Hawaii, because after about five years in college, I deserve a break in paradise,” said Vazquez.
Vazquez advises seniors to finish on a strong note, but enjoy free time while they still can.
“While most of us seniors are busy planning for our futures, it’s important to remember that we can’t forget to live in the present and enjoy the little time of college we have left,” Vasquez said. “It’s also important to remember that not everyone is lucky enough to get a college education.”
Vazquez calls college something that we “should be extremely grateful and proud of.”