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8 Things I Wish I Knew as a College Senior

Hey Bees, I’m Amanda. You may remember me as a former Her Campus writer – some of my personal favorites include 10 Things I’ll Miss About St. Ambrose, 10 Things Non-Ambrosians Just Don’t Understand, and 7 Mistakes all Freshmen Make (and How to Avoid Them). Even though I’m no longer a college student, I decided to come back to Her Campus SAU and spread my (lack of) post-grad knowledge.

Since graduating last December, my life has changed drastically. I landed a fulltime job (in my field), moved away from home (only two hours, but hey, it counts), and started renting my first apartment (goodbye, SAU dorm life). Although my life is cool now, I can’t help but think back to my last year at St. Ambrose and have a few regrets. And because of that, I have compiled a list of 8 things I wish I would have known as a senior in hopes that I’ll be able to help a few of you refrain from making the same (minor) mistakes that I did.

1. Go to every athletic event possible.

When I was in college, I rarely went to sporting events. Sure, I attended my fair share of baseball games (thanks Zach), but I could probably count every other game/meet/match I attended on one hand. When it came to athletics, I found myself wishing I was at a bigger school because, “Ambrose has no school spirit” and “Nobody ever goes to games.” Well, if my friends and I would have attended a few games, my friends’ friends would have attended and their friends’ friends. Before you knew it, we would have had a huge student section cheering on the Bees.

2. Good grades don’t equal good jobs.

You know those straight A’s and 100 percent tests you have plastered on your refrigerator for the whole world to see? Guess what – they’re not going to secure you that dream job you want post-graduation. At Ambrose, I scored a 3.96 grade point average, graduated early and still took four months to find a job. Employers want more than just good grades, and they’re looking for real, hands-on experience. Without internships, co-ops or research projects, it will be hard to land a job right after graduating. And even with internships, co-ops, research projects and a 4.0 GPA, it may still be hard to find the job you’re looking for.

3. With that being said, don’t get upset when job hunting.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, job hunting sucks. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you studied, looking for a job isn’t fun. Automated rejection emails happen, and they’ll happen more times than not. They never get any easier, but that still shouldn’t stop you from applying for the jobs you want.

4. Your dream salary won’t appear right after graduation.

When I was looking for jobs, I had an outrageous idea of what my starting salary would look like. Although I was fresh out of college, I had a resume full of internships, references and related work/volunteer experience, so I should be worth more than the average graduate, right? When I would apply for jobs online and they’d ask for my ideal starting salary, I would include it. Looking back now, I realize that “ideal salary” was the reason I wasn’t even getting interviews. Your dream salary will come one day, but it’s definitely something that you have to work towards.

5. Take pictures.

Okay, this isn’t just for seniors in college, but for anyone. Take pictures because you want to, not because you haven’t had anything to post on Instagram for a few weeks. Take pictures when you’re dressed up for a night out. Take pictures when you’re visiting your family for the first time in months. Take pictures when you’re up until 3:00 a.m. with your roommates cramming for a test while wearing paint splattered pajamas and covered in zit cream. And no matter how bad you think you look, do not delete these pictures. One day, you’re going to be 87 years old, wishing you could look back on your younger years. Make sure you have plenty of pictures so you can remember the good years, the bad years and everything in between. Trust me, older you will appreciate the fact you kept these pictures even though you “look so fat.”

6. Use the gym.

By spending thousands of dollars on tuition, you get access to the “free” gym on campus. USE IT. Life after college is expensive and the last thing you’ll want to do is tack on a monthly gym membership fee.

7. Spend as much time with your friends as possible.

By no means am I saying “Forget all responsibilities and go out with your friends every single night,” but instead, make a conscious effort to spend the downtime you have with them. Looking back, I can’t help but regret the nights I spent in my room with the door closed, watching House Hunters or Gossip Girl when I could have been out in the living room being social with my friends. Senior year is the last time you’ll be living in the same building as your best friends and just minutes away from all of your other friends. Make the most of it.

8. You have got to stop comparing yourself to others.

This is something that I still constantly struggle with. When I was a senior in college, I couldn’t help but compare myself to others my age. “Wow, her résumé looks better than mine.” “He’s out every night and never tries in class, but he already has a job lined up?” “It’s 8:00 a.m. and this girl has on a full face of makeup with her hair curled. I’m in sweatpants…” The sooner you can get these negative thoughts out of your head, the better.

Side note: I read this post on LinkedIn a few months ago and it really hit home. It’s kind of lame, but maybe it will resonate with some of you.

“Someone graduated at the age of 22, yet waited 5 years before securing a good job; and there is another who graduated at 27 and secured employment immediately. Someone became CEO at 25 and died at 50 while another became a CEO at 50 and lived to 90 years. Everyone works based on their “time zone.” People can have things worked out only according to their pace. Work in your own “time zone.” Your colleagues, friends, younger ones might “seem” to go ahead of you. Maybe some might “seem” behind you. Everyone is in this world running their own race on their own lane in their own time. God has a different plan for everybody. Time is the difference.”


surprise, sports, grades, computer, money, pictures, gym, friends, compare

I'm Amanda, a junior PR major at St. Ambrose. I enjoy long walks on the beach and queso.
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