Senior year of college will be the most fun, most stressful, most memorable year of school for some. It certainly felt like that way for me (aka a very recent, overly sentimental college grad). And if there’s any advice I’d give to new college seniors, it would be to make the most out your senior year because you only get to do it once!
Here’s 10 things you should do to ensure you’ll leave senior year with “no regrets.”
1. Include people.
You want to make your senior year memorable? Do so by making it memorable for someone else. Hit up more people when making weekend plans, heading to a football game or getting together for wine night. Spending more time with more people will have you looking back a year from now and saying, “I’m glad I did it.”
Make plans as often as you can as well – Whether grabbing coffee off campus, a night dedicated to the last seasons of Lost, or a themed party to kick off the month of October – whatever it may be, make plans. A night well-planned will be a night well-remembered.
2. Network, network, network.
You know what will also make the most out of your senior year? Having a job once it ends. Applying for jobs all summer is not what I’d call the cherry on top of an awesome college experience. Start networking early on and come May, finding a job (if you don’t have one already) will be a whole lot easier. Trust me!
3. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
You don’t want to look back on the last year of your undergraduate career having spent so much time worrying about who did and didn’t text you back or who still owes you for pizza 4 months ago. Those things aren’t going to matter after senior year is through, so don’t let them matter while senior year still is.
4. Work hard.
When senior year rolls around, the majority of minds are usually calculating how many nights a week they can manage to go out and what’s the lowest possible grade they can receive on a test and still pass the class. Don’t fall into this trap! It’s certainly easy to, but if you work hard senior year, it’ll pay off and you’ll leave knowing you finished strong.
5. Hang out with different crowds.
Another thing I was glad I did my senior year. Go to a bar with kids from lecture, trivia night with friends from your intramural team, or study with your neighbors on a Sunday afternoon. Though you want to enjoy senior year with your closest friends, and you certainly will, there’s always time to make for those people you spend the other half of your student life with. Who knows, they could become some of your closest friends, too.
6. Get to know your professors more.
At the end of my senior year, I met with a professor for coffee. A saw her in a completely different light. Not that I didn’t love her in class, but here she was off-the-record and simply glowing. If you’re on a comfortable, casual level with a professor, get to know them outside of class. They may surprise you like mine did and you’ll eventually be glad you built up a sort of friendship with them. (You do also owe them for having graduated!)
7. Help out the little guy.
Yes, all junior and sophomore year, the last thing you wanted to do was be seen with freshmen. But now you’re a senior, and you’re a mentor to those naive youngsters. So help them out like you wish someone had helped you out. If you have classes with mixed grades, went to high school with some new frosh or are a peer adviser at school, go out of your way and be that cool senior to a couple of freshmen.
8. Sit down and just talk.
Having already graduated, I realize now how little I learned about some of the people I spent every week with. Not to say I didn’t know them. But I would have never known how a friend of mine started one of the most well-known charities in the U.S. if I hadn’t just sat down and talked with him for a bit. You’ll only build a stronger friendship by doing so.
9. Don’t forget to appreciate.
Friends, professors, advisers, classmates. Some of these people you may never see again (and I apologize if I’m igniting the water works here, but it’s true!!). Take a minute to sit down with them and tell them, “Thanks.” It may sound corny, but it could make a huge difference in the relationship you have with them after graduating.
Celebrate everything that is college and senior year. The friends, the lessons, the forgotten nights and the ones that will always stick with you. Raise your glass, make a cheers to senior year, and celebrate having loved the most “amazing 4 years of your life.”