Whether you’re one of the few who manages to complete college early, you’re right on time, or you’ve taken longer than the traditional 4 years to complete your time as an undergrad, that last semester is full of a lot of different emotions, memories and experiences.
For me, time was moving so quickly I don’t feel like I ever really got to take a second and just savor everything – to really take it all in. I was constantly reminding myself to appreciate all of the friends, fun, and special places, but time still traveled at warp speed all the same.
One thing I wish I had known to do before beginning that final semester was sit down and think about all of the things I wanted to make sure I accomplished. Some may call it a bucket list, but to me it’s a little bit more than that.
After speaking with a few of my friends (both current post-grads, current seniors, and even a few juniors) I’ve pulled together a master list of our best ideas and advice for the way to make the most of your final semester of college before you begin the next phase of your life. There are some things that you’ll never be able to find or experience once you walk across that graduation stage!
1. Say Yes More – If you’re exhausted, say yes to drinks with friends. If you’re in a cranky mood, don’t let it stop you from missing out on something fun. Time is limited!
2. Take pictures of absolutely everything – This one is easier, in theory, given how glued we are to our phones…but looking back on my final semester, there are infinite things I wish I’d taken pictures of. They don’t need to all be your best photo ever, or even a great one at all that’s worthy of Instagram. Document the little moments.
3. Pull More All-Nighters (the fun kind!) – My final semester was definitely my most exhausting one, but I am so glad that I spent more time getting out of my house and doing things than laying around sleeping or missing out.
4. Stay In Bed All Day Watching TV – Despite #3, the luxury of sleeping in on a weekday and having absolutely nothing on your agenda is something you won’t have for years and years. Take it all in.
5. Explore Places on Campus You’ve Never Been – I couldn’t believe how many places on campus I fell in love with in my last semester that I’d been missing out on. There were a ton of activities, places and fun things we could have been doing that we just didn’t take the time to find!
6. Look Up School Traditions & Cross Them Off – Every school has a ton of amazing traditions. Look them up, and make sure you’re not missing a thing!
7. Take Your Graduation Photos in Advance – Besides the fact that our graduation took place during a torrential downpour rain, we had plenty of sunshine before the ceremony and absolutely zero time to do anything about it. That morning is frantic, so take pictures with your friends and anywhere on campus that you want ahead of time.
8. Don’t Stop Networking (even if you already have a job) – I went into my senior year with a job offer already signed, which was an incredibly luxury. One disservice it did for me though? I stopped taking the time to network with other professors and even students! You’re going to need connections later in life, whether you have your first job locked down or not.
9. Find Other Students Moving to the Same City Post-Grad – I was fortunate enough to move to the beautiful city of Chicago…alongside hundreds of other kids who went to Miami. Some I already knew, many I’ve met since moving, but either way it’s always nice to see a familiar face. Find out who else is heading in the same direction as you and get their number! You’ll be glad to have someone to navigate your new territory with.
10. Stop Sweating the Small Stuff – You just don’t have enough time left to be sitting around worrying about someone who didn’t text you back, petty drama with friends, or that one single exam score you didn’t ace.
11. Help Out Younger Friends – You’re among the most knowledgeable and experienced group of people on campus now. Be a good resource for your younger friends, whether they need internship advice or just someone to look up to, it’s incredibly rewarding and they’ll be so grateful.
12. Sell Everything You Can – There are a ton of things at the end of college that you’ll simply never need again. Sell it, pass it down, or throw it out. The less stuff you bring with you, the better! This is one of the freshest starts you’ll ever get in life, so use it well.
13. Take At Least One Spontaneous Trip – While leaving campus is never appealing while time is winding down, my absolute best memories of college and frankly in my life include a few of the spontaneous day or weekend trips I took with friends during my final semester. Find somewhere nearby and have a new adventure.
There are obviously a lot of ways to make the most of your time remaining on campus, but the most important thing above all is to just enjoy it and have fun with whoever is around you. Post-grad life can be intimidating, and absolutely amazing all at the same time.