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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FIU chapter.

Junior and senior year of college is basically a repeat of junior and senior year of high school. You’re realizing that you’re closer and closer to transitioning into a new period of life but this second time, to me, is much more intimidating. In this article, I want to use my own junioritis to guide juniors and seniors in college who are thinking about post-undergrad life, especially those of you thinking about graduate school.

Route #1: Start as Soon as Possible

When I came into college, I thought that I was going to keep going after my bachelor’s to get my master’s degree so that I can get licensed and start my career ASAP. This is a route that many people can and do take, and it’s great because you stay in school mode and are able to get to your desired career faster. If you plan to do this, you should be starting to look into programs and schools by the summer going into junior year. During your junior year, you should be recruiting people for letters of recommendation and working on graduate school requirements like autobiographical sketches, letters of intent, CVs, and resumes and continuing to do well in school so that your GPA doesn’t dip. Senior year is all about applications and planning for life outside of school. Are you planning to move? Are you going to be working? How are you going to balance school and/or work with your personal life? It’s all so stressful, but I promise that all of the hard work is going to be worth it.

Route #2: Gap Year(s)

Now, as you read earlier, I came into college thinking that I was going to immediately follow my bachelor’s with my master’s… yeah, that’s not happening. At the beginning of junior year, I decided that a gap year is the best thing that I can do for my mental health and financial stability. I want to give myself a break from the anxiety and stress of deadlines so that I can go to graduate school with a fresh state of mind. I feel like gap years are sometimes looked upon due to the possibility of losing the motivation to go back. The best way to approach gap years is to have a solid plan; there are so many things you can do during a gap year, but you need to be intentional and find your ‘why’ for graduate school. My why is knowing that without my degree, I can’t get licensed, which means that I can’t start my target career. My intentions are to get experience in my field, work on my professional development, and travel. You don’t have to have every minute planned out, but it shouldn’t be a free-for-all either.

Before Leaving University

Your school most likely has a ton of resources on campus to help you with post-graduation life, including resume building, interview practice, and professional development events. You should take advantage of these resources; they offer such great benefits, and it may be harder to get that help outside of college, so take advantage. You should leave college with at least three connections in your target career. Networking is so important, and you never know who can help you out in the future, so always be open to talking to new people.

I’m no expert, but I hope, from one peer to another, that my advice is helpful in some way. If you need more help, reach out to your advisor and anyone at your university who focuses on post-graduation life.

Good luck on your journey!

Aaliyah (Leah) Walker is a first-year writer at Her Campus at the FIU chapter. She writes articles pertaining to mental health, entertainment, and advocacy for people of color. Besides being a writer at Her Campus, Leah is a junior attending FIU, majoring in psychology and organizational communications. She is an equipment manager for the FIU football team as well as a learning assistant for the psychology department. As if that is not enough, she is also a mentor to twenty first-semester freshmen. When she has time to herself, Leah is a first time dog mommy to her puppy Zion. They love going to the dog park as well as attending agility classes. Leah also loves to read science-fiction books as well as taking long walks around campus. She loves true crime Youtube and Tiktok videos.