The Last Leg of the Race : Senior Year Checklist

You’ve done all of the work, spent countless hours in the library and taken several tests. Now, it’s the final countdown, the last stretch, the end. As exciting as senior year can be, it can also be challenging and scary. In addition to passing your final few classes, you’ve got to get graduation tickets, send out invitations, prepare for the future and more. In the midst of it all, it’s hard to mentally and physically prepare and stay sane. However, speaking from personal experience, it’s doable.

Protect Your Mental

A common least favorite question is “what’s next for you?” This can be discouraging when hearing others ranting and raving about their post-grad plans. Be confident in whatever your answer may be. Don’t be ashamed to say that you don’t know or, if you do know, to shout your decision from the rooftops. You shouldn’t feel badly for having a plan, and you shouldn’t feel badly if you don’t. Allow life to unfold and nature to take its course.

Moreover, it’s important to get rest, stay hydrated, and make time for your mental and physical health. Getting that extra hour of sleep each night, going to the gym or even taking a mental health day can make a world of difference. Don’t be afraid to say “no” to friends or family-- you can’t be your best self for others if you aren’t your best self for yourself, first. Lastly, don’t hesitate to reach out and seek help if you need it. Sometimes, we all need to lean on someone.

Make time for fun. It’s your LAST YEAR BEFORE ADULTHOOD. Besides, you deserve it. It’s alright to take time out for a party or event, that’s a part of self-care, too. Certainly don’t go out every weekend, but a couple of times a month is healthy. You have to develop a good work-life balance, otherwise life will be bland.

Physical Preparation

Set up a schedule so that you’ll stay organized when it comes to school work and extracurriculars. The last thing you want to do is get to the finish line, take a nap and fall behind. Whether that’s using a google calendar or a planner, do what works best for you and whatever will keep you on track.

The fun part is planning out graduation photos, invitations, cap designs and more-- but it can also be somewhat stressful. A good thing to do is also make a list with dates for when you want to accomplish these things. This will help you pace and plan out one thing at a time, so as to not overwhelm yourself. Also, if your school only gives you a small number of graduation tickets and you have a large family, don’t be afraid to let them know that you will do your best to get them tickets, but that it’s not guaranteed. Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don't mind. Tell them that they can come to the after party.

Get your resume looked over, have mock interviews at the career center and start applying for jobs if that’s the route you’re taking. If you’re going the school route, then get those transcripts ready and recommenders lined up. Make sure to look at due dates. Again, set up a plan for getting all of this done and set aside time to work on these things. If you’re unsure about your path, i’d still utilize those resources for getting your resume and cover letter in order.

Senior year can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Go into it with the right mindset and some perseverance, and you will be just fine.