Preparing for graduation

Lindsay Keener | Staff Writer

The real world: We’ve all heard about it. The bills, the taxes, the boring nine-to-five jobs, it’s all been the distant future for many of us over the years, but it’s quickly approaching.

As a junior, I’ve come to realize that graduation is really only a blink away. The summer is almost here, and it’ll be gone before I get the chance to utter the words “vacation” or “break.” Before I know it, I’ll be a senior headed toward graduation, and if I’m being honest, I don’t feel all that prepared to be a full-time adult yet.

Sure, I have a plan of what I’d like to do, but that’s all it is right now: a plan. A strict set of guidelines might look good on paper, but it does very little to ease the stress I feel regarding my future. Quite frankly, all I can do at the moment is attack these plans one by one.

We’ve all been preparing for graduation since we first stepped foot on Hampton’s campus. While social events are a nice bonus, academics are a top priority. If success in your chosen field is your end goal, it is crucial that you maintain your grades until you walk across the stage at graduation. Otherwise, you won’t be doing so. It can be quite easy to become distracted by the thought of graduation and the end of school, but allowing your schoolwork to fall by the wayside in order to cater to said distractions will result in your potential downfall. In short, keep up with your studies until you have your hand on that degree.

After you’ve become confident in the standing of your grades, it is time to work on setting yourself up for a prosperous career. If you’re in need of some guidance, forming a connection with a well-experienced mentor or visiting your college career center is a great first step. Either path can provide you with advice, practical steps and skills to help you gain clarity on what is to come and how you can best achieve your goals.

Don’t be afraid to market yourself and show potential employers exactly what you’re made of. Have an attractive resume filled with your work experiences and internships that will speak for you in your absence. Remember the mentors I talked about earlier? It’s important that you have credible men and women in your corner that can vouch for just how great you really are. A recommendation letter or phone call from a trusted adult can work wonders.

Apply for as many jobs as possible in your desired career field. Having a variety of choices and options will increases your chances of finding something that sticks. Reach high, but don’t underestimate the smaller companies. While there’s strength in numbers, you can find strength in any group, big or small.

Out of all the advice I can give, my best would be advising you to believe in yourself. Trust that you’ve retained the knowledge necessary to advance you further throughout your college career. Believe that you’ve made strong connections and that the work you do is a great contribution, not only to the company you intend to work for, but to society as well. You’re more than capable of handling the real world. You have been all along.

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