I’m one of the biggest planners I know. I color code, make lists and sometimes even organize my day down to the minute (when my boyfriend and I first began dating, I would schedule him into my day’s plans if I was going to see him). But sometimes, there just isn’t room to plan.
The transition from junior to senior year was a tough one. There were a lot of changes, including good and bad ones. My roommate and I get along really well, I am earning good grades, and my friends and I still get together, even though many of them have graduated by now. However, I’m also balancing a bunch of outside activities and am trying to apply for jobs. Senior year isn’t the party that it is cracked up to be, and I’m not complaining about that, but it’s definitely an awakening for some people.
By now, midterms are upon us. This can be a crazy time, especially because many people have spring break plans they can’t stop thinking about (while I get to go to the dentist … woo hoo) and it is becoming more obvious that graduation is coming soon. It seems like an impending deadline by which I need to figure out my life, all with the difficulty of balancing my job, internships, contributing writer program and academics.
Some people aren’t going into the job world immediately after graduation, and in a way, I somewhat envy them for having more plans figured out. My boyfriend took the LSAT sometime during the first semester and already knows where he wants to go to law school. He just has to figure out the specifics of it working out now, but he has more time for a lot of those aspects, since his school won’t start until August. I can’t speak for everyone attending law, medical or graduate schools, but this seems to be a pretty standard case.
Essentially, though, I feel like people really need to learn to prioritize. I’m sure that some will argue with me about this, but if you’re not planning on going on for more school, don’t overwhelm yourself working to get straight A’s. I’m not advocating for you to skip a bunch of classes and not turn in your assignments, because failing a class doesn’t look good for anyone, but if you have a bunch of deadlines all looming over you in the same week, pick which ones are going to matter the most in a couple of months. Getting a B or C on one test is not going to be the end of the world if you have managed to earn good grades in the class the rest of the semester. It is redundant to say that time management is crucial because it is throughout your entire college career, but searching for jobs is essentially a job in itself, and because many of you, like me, are involved in other activities, it can be hard to balance your senior year.
However, just focus on what you need to do each day. I no longer plan out my day minute-by-minute, but I do include a list of everything I need to get done that day and for the few following so that I can try to work ahead if I have time. I schedule specific “job application” time slots into my plan to remind myself I need to do them, even if they don’t seem like the biggest priority right now. It’s true that I won’t be able to start a job until after graduation, but I still would need to have at least one interview prior to receiving the job, so it makes sense to plan ahead for that.
What’s most important to remember is that there is no right or wrong plan. Granted, I feel like many people would dislike working at the same place they worked at during high school post-graduation, but most of them did not choose that. Finding a job can be difficult, and having to figure out the rest of your life can be intimidating. I have friends who still don’t know entirely what they want to do, so they are actively looking at various opportunities, like more school, jobs, or even programs like Teach for America. Don’t get down on yourself if you don’t have a specific plan, as long as you are trying your best to figure it out.
Grace Johnson is a senior publishing major and columnist for The Vidette. Any questions or comments regarding her column can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.