Unsolicited Life Advice from Graduating Seniors

Compiled with the help of my lovely roommates.

The order of advice is purposeful: It flows from university-specific to college-universal.

1. Take advantages of the resources on campus:

  • Interview preparation at the Opportunity Hub and the Career Center
  • Networking opportunities through UCAN
  • Free professional clothes at the Career Center
  • Free groceries from Maize and Blue Cupboard
  • Center for the Education of Women (CEW)
  • Welcome Wednesdays at the Alumni Center
  • Happening @ Michigan events, seminars, etcetera

2. Go to the Big House at least once

... It’s humbling.

3. Get to know some of your professors

There are some incredibly knowledgeable instructors on our campus­–they can guide you in ways that your friends may not be able to. And, of course, there is no such thing as having too many mentors.

4. Take advantage of how easy it is to meet up with friends       

This might mean something as simple as sitting on the Diag grass for an hour between classes. You’ll most likely never again have all of your friends in one place as you do now. At the same time, don’t feel bad about wanting to spend some time alone–it’s all about balance.

5. Seek out weird and unusual experiences

We’re only exposed to this diversity of opportunities once. One of the unwritten goals of existing in a university setting is to meet as great a variety of people as possible. It’s incredibly important and valuable to graduate with the feeling that you understand perspectives well beyond your own.

6. There are both school-centric and external learning opportunities

Seek out both. They are valuable in very different ways, and a combination of the two makes for a well-rounded human.

7. Apply to positions or opportunities you feel you may be unqualified for on paper

It’s always worth the effort. All you need is one person to recognize your potential. 

8. Quitters sometimes win

If you’re seriously overwhelmed and your mental health is suffering, dropping a class is fine. It doesn’t make you weak. Prioritize your wellness!

9. Do the things you want to do, not the things you think you should do      

An obvious example: If you’re not that into drinking, don’t feel like your abstaining from alcohol will define your college career. Make friends that support your decisions.

10. Don’t take yourself too seriously

It turns out that people are so busy focusing on their own image that they barely notice yours. Live in a way that makes you intrinsically happy.

11. It takes time to find “your people”

You don’t have to become best friends with the first group of people that you meet. Explore the community and find individuals whose values align with your own.

12. College doesn’t have to be the best four years of your life.

Or three years. Or five years. Or however many years it turns out to be.

13. Numbers aren’t everything

Your GPA, your salary, number of likes, partners, friends: These numbers aren’t the be-all and end-all. 

14. Avoid comparison

This means comparison to your past self, as well as comparison to others. You are exactly who and where you need to be. A social media cleanse may help with this.

15. Don’t worry if you don’t find the one during your undergraduate career

We are so, so young. You have plenty of time.

16. It’s OK to switch your major at any point in college

It’s also OK to follow a career path completely unrelated to your major.

17. “Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”

Thank you, Dolly Parton, for this lovely quote. (Note: You might substitute “studying” for “making a living,” but you get the idea.) Be aware of whether your head is constantly facing the ground or the clouds. Remember to revel in that which is in front of you every once in a while and to be present with the decisions you’ve made.

Images courtesy of Michigan Commencement on Facebook and medium.com