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Planning for Graduation & Staying Grounded

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at IUP chapter.

As graduation is approaching (the countdown is well underway!) I cannot help but search for ways to ground myself in a time that feels hectic. Between exams, assignments, and the general graduation prep like picking up that long-awaited cap and gown, the final semester of my college career seems to be slipping past in the blink of an eye. Here are some ways I have– or plan to– prepare myself for graduation in a meaningful way.

Graduation photoshoot

This is a pretty common practice in graduating college nowadays. But the importance of a photoshoot should not be overlooked. Graduating college is a huge accomplishment and deserves to be commemorated with something you can have forever, something you can share with those closest to you (and maybe all of your Instagram followers, too.) Since photoshoots can be expensive, here is a tip if you are a financially struggling college student: many campus libraries offer cameras that can be checked out! Perhaps ask a friend who has a knack for photography if they would be willing to snap some shots of you around campus in your cap and gown.

reflecting on the college journey

Whether you spent a full four years, more, or less in college, this time has been a period of immense growth for you, I’m sure. Looking back on the person I was as a wide-eyed, eager eighteen-year-old, I can see how much I have matured, the lessons I had to learn, and what I will continue to grow into. How many challenges were you presented with that you were able to overcome? How many times did you doubt your ability to get this degree, yet here you are? Reflecting helps to identify the growth you have done throughout this era.

letters of gratitude

Part of reflecting on my college years led me to recognize that I couldn’t have made this accomplishment without the support of many people. There are many individuals who have made a lasting impression on me, and I doubt they even realize it! Why not take this time to thank someone for the wise words they shared with you, perhaps the encouragement they offered you in a time during which they didn’t even realize how much you needed to hear that? I encourage you to allow your reflection to show you those who have made even the tiniest yet impactful impression on you.

looking forward in a positive light

Post-graduation may mean entering the unknown for many of us. For me, it looks somewhat vague: I’m moving out of the country for a year. Will I be able to work as a nurse there? Will I continue my education one day? Which path of my career will I take? The unknown may be petrifying at times, but I think we have already entered the unknown. Beginning college was an unknown: a new university, new group of people, new classes, new everything. Yet we made it to the other side. So, as daunting as life may seem, I am confident we will make it on the other side of that too. It’s totally okay to not know where we are going to be in three, five, or ten years, and even if we think we know, that could change in an instant. Trusting that our futures are bright will only lead us to continue to pursue that light.

enjoy the time left

This is some advice I need to take myself. In the franticness of tackling the last semester, I found myself in the library way more and spending time with friends, doing things I enjoy, way less. The fear of failure consumed me, to the point that my friends pointed out that I’m hardly around anymore. I am not saying to abandon your academics, but we do deserve and need to create time to enjoy ourselves, the time we have with friends who may not live in the same town as us in a few months. College will be over before we know it, and we shouldn’t graduate with regrets that we should have made more of the time we had.

Tatiana Cleffi is a writer for the Her Campus chapter at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP,) who enjoys writing about her personal experiences, particularly in regards to her Latin culture. She is a senior nursing student who is eager to graduate in December 2023. Tatiana is passionate about bridging the language gap in the healthcare setting. She studied medical Spanish abroad to become better equipped to provide nursing care to a diverse range of patients. In her free time, Tatiana enjoys visiting her husband in Costa Rica, going to the beach, singing on the worship team at her church, and eating pumpkin pie.