“You’re almost done with school, what are your plans after graduation?”
As a senior at UCCS, I hear this question every day. I am constantly asked by my friends and family if I have started looking at jobs, if I have my documents together, if I have talked to businesses. Even professors will ask if you have a job lined up already for post-graduation.
Having these thoughts racing through my head puts added stress in my mind. Knowing soon you will walk across that stage, be handed a diploma and be off to do bigger and better things stresses me out, because I still have a lot of work to do between now and then.
My advisor asks me what I want to do and who I want to become. He shows me links to websites that have posted positions in my field. He sends me forms to fill out to make my status as a graduating senior official. My to-do list grows and grows, and it tells me my time at UCCS is almost up and I need to move on to my professional career.
I have a message for current seniors and other students that will soon be near the end of their college career: You do not have to know exactly what you want to do right away. You have time to continue networking and learning more about companies within your field of interest.
Most companies will not consider you for a position if you apply too early. You apply for a job and go through the interview processes to then tell them you don’t graduate for another seven months. They will have filled that position by that point.
Career Sherpa discusses that it is important to use the fall semester for career research and to get ideas. Then, at the start of spring, or at least by March, you should start applying for jobs because companies are willing to hold positions for a few months before you graduate.
Fall semester isn’t over yet. I am using this time to research businesses and find open positions. I am getting ideas about where I want to be, what I want to do.
Then next semester, I will start applying because then starting dates can be negotiated. All you have to do is map out time periods when you want certain tasks completed. Everything can be spread apart and then it will start to be pieced together as you reach your final days at UCCS.
Do not wait until the last minute and get stuck doing everything at once. You can think and plan ahead. Just know that you don’t have to have it all figured out in the beginning. Your senior year is the most important in your college career. It’s the most exciting time. Have fun and don’t stress about life after college. Stay in the moment and know you don’t know everything.
UCCS Scribe graduation cap. Photo by Lexi Petri.