So, here it is at last. Your last summer before your last year of college. The very last summer that you will ever just be an undergraduate student. An undergraduate student with little to no adult-like responsibilities. It’s hard to decide what to do with your last bit of freedom especially when trying to brainstorm life after college.
No worries. The Dawg Blawg has got you covered. We’ve asked current seniors and alumni what they think it is best to do and also what they wish they would have done in their last summer before senior year.
Find an Internship
We’ve all been on Indeed, LinkedIn, Monster and more job/internship search sites applying to any opportunity that pops up on the results page. What keeps us from applying however, is the “preferred experience” section that suggests you have at least 2-3 years of experience. The question is how do we get this experience while in college? And isn’t college technically us getting some experience?! The answer to that question, to some employers unfortunately, is an absolute no. Therefore, it is important to find an internship and your last free summer is the perfect time.
· Use the Center for Personal & Professional Development to help you navigate through the internship and job search. Each year they host several amounts of career fairs that include a number of employers looking to hire. Take advantage of this opportunity.
· Utilize your connections through your department. Ask your favorite professor or your dean to give you some suggestions of those that may be in need of interns for the summer. Faculty are always willing to help students jumpstart their professional careers.
· Make sure when searching and interviewing for these internships or jobs that you are also understanding the culture of the environment that you may be working in the whole summer. You want to be sure it’ll be a place that you will learn and also have fun.
· Build a network as you go. Remember those that you have been in contact with through this process – and those that you work with during your internship. It is great to have a solid network when trying to find jobs after college.
Travel & Spend Time with Friends
With senior year around the corner it is the time of “lasts.” Last summer of freedom, last first day of class, last homecoming, last spring break, and then before you know it it’s the last day of classes ever, and you’re graduating two days later. All of these “lasts” are filled with your favorite people, those that you have made life-long relationships with, some who you won’t see every single day after graduation. When asking the question of what to do in your last summer before senior year, all stressed the importance of spending time with your college friends.
· Visit friends in their hometown and see what their world away from GWU is like.
· Take a trip to the nearest city or beach with a group of friends.
· Spend quality time together as you never know where life after college will take you all individually.
Explore the Town
It’s not much but it’s ours! Boiling Springs as well as Shelby is our home and it will always be even years from now after graduation. From the restaurants, local stores, coffee shops and museums that we didn’t even know were there – it is important that we are Boiling Springs and Shelby experts by the time senior year begins.
· Make a list of restaurants and coffee shops that you haven’t visited before, before you resort back to your go-to spots. There are so many tasty and local places that offer a variety of options to satisfy all of your taste buds. Some of the favorites listed were Snack Shop, Shelby Café, El Acapulco, and of course, Cookout.
· Take a day with friends and visit Broad River Greenway. There’s nothing like spending time with friends and nature. Enjoy time tubing or just floating in the river. Have a cookout after and soak up the sun as well as your last free moments.
· Take a trip to the Earl Scruggs Center. Hear live music, get involved, and see the museum. Take a tour and explore the history and roots of Earl Scruggs and his meaning to Cleveland County.
Brainstorm Graduate Schools
If you plan on continuing your education directly after undergrad now is the time to start thinking of where you’d like to be in the following Summer or Fall after graduation. Depending on when you plan on enrolling those application deadlines come around fast and it is important to have all of your application materials prepared and ready.
· Curate a list of at least 10 schools that you would like to attend. Rank them from 1-10, 1 being your top school of choice. Go through each school and list what is expected of you as far as admission requirements go.
· Schedule a time to take your graduate school entrance exams. Whether it is the GMAT, GRE, LSAT, or the MCAT it is important to be proactive and schedule these in advance. Make sure you schedule the entrance exam that most of your schools request you to take. Schedule it as far in advance as possible to allow more time for studying but also in a timely manner before your application deadlines.
· Weigh the costs. Like undergraduate school, graduate school isn’t cheap. Fortunately, there are options that a number of schools offer to help with the costs. Explore the idea of applying for a graduate assistantship, finding a job on campus, being a graduate resident director, or even doing research to help supplement the cost. There a number of options there for you but it is up to you to do the research!
Keep learning and bettering yourself while you are on break, too. Nothing is worse than taking months off of school and on the first week of classes you’re mind boggled and thinking “I don’t even know what my penmanship looks like,” or “I don’t remember how to study!” Always keep yourself in the loop when it comes to current events and knowledge – especially when it pertains to the field you are hoping to be part of.
· Keep a book with you this summer. After finishing one pick up another. Reading makes you smarter as I am sure you have been told since the 3rd grade. Choose books that are going to help you become the best version of yourself! Self-help books have become a favorite of mine especially because they have enlightened me about self-motivation, how to manage my money, and also professional readiness.
· Take summer classes. Keep your brain working and fresh on what will prepare you for life. Finish out the last of your general education requirements if needed or audit some classes that you think will help develop you in your field.
· Keep in touch with your advisors and any mentors that you may have at school. Maintain the relationships that you have built even while on a break. Keep them updated on what you are working on.
All in all, this is your last summer. Make the most of it. In addition to these five tips don’t forget to do what is the most important:
· Get some “me time.” Self-care is the number one thing that you can do when trying to get to know yourself. Doing this is important before you step out in to the world. Spend a significant amount of time with yourself and the things that you like to do before the real world takes over.
· Go to a movie, a concert, or see a play. Do the normal and fun things that excite you the most. You never know what your new schedule will enable you to do – so now is the time to do it.
· Don’t rest too much. Keep yourself going and in a daily routine. Exercise your body, mind and spirit so that you are prepared and ready to go when things get started in the fall.
Aliah Price, ‘19, Marketing Major