Five Tips For College Seniors

As you are entering your senior year, I know you will be inundated with advice about graduate school, professional school, career planning, how to look for a job, how to interview, how to land a job, financial planning, student loan counseling etc. This information matters and take special care to glean all you can. But, you aren’t going to get that here. I’ll be sharing those things I tell my students in our one-on-one conversations.

1. Treasure Your Friendships   My friends and I have seen each other through birth, death, car accidents, weddings, unemployment, underemployment, weddings, divorces, etc. Your college friends become your family. After graduation, some of these relationships will strengthen, others will fade and you may have an unexpected relationship develop, but each requires you to cherish them. There will only be so many times that a 2 A.M. trip to Walmart will turn into a most excellent adventure. Oh, and at no other time in your life will quarter waters, ramen noodles and fruit cups be appropriate food for a Saturday movie marathon. Make special memories, relish these times and make the most of each moment.

Speaking of moments…

2. Maximize EVERY Moment   Senior year is more like freshman year than we care to admit. Both are special, highly emotional transitional periods. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll cry to keep from laughing and you’ll cry because you’re tired of laughter. Even with these emotional extremes, be sure to enjoy your time on campus. Have fun. Make fun. Go on that random road trip. Double dutch on the yard. Study just a little bit longer for your midterm. Start a snowball fight. Don’t worry (Easier said than done, I know.) Keep your eyes to your future, but live in each moment.

Senior year is truly fleeting. As soon as you truly realize your status, you are standing in line at commencement waiting on your name to be called and then…

 3. Real Life Happens   The next level it’s all on you. Real life. Eh, it’s not so bad. Even though you just completed a four-year educational journey, be prepared for life to teach you so much more. It’s okay if you don’t have your life mapped out. And if you map it, don’t be afraid to change your path. Shift happens. Just make sure it’s on your terms.

If really don’t want to go to law school, don’t. It’s your life and you must…

4. Hold Fast To YOUR Dreams   It’s hard to reach this level and not feel pressured. Your parents, family and friends all have expectations of you. At times, their desires can ring louder than your dreams. Your dreams are your driving force. Some may be short-lived and others are small. But then there are those dreams that are found in your very essence, these are they that will give your life true meaning.

Pursuing your dreams is not easy. In fact, it will be one of the most trying things you ever do. It may even be difficult for you to convince yourself of the possibilities, but you have to remember…

 5. Patient Toil Never Fails of Success   Dr. Lafayette Loomis said it best at the opening exercises for the Medical Department of Howard University. “…May the after years of your lives my young friends justify the hope of the present hour, and along your sometimes weary student’s life may you never forget that success only comes of patient toil and that patient toil never fails of success.”

Seniors, make this year, your best year ever.


Ephoto. Clare Stewart is graduate of Fisk University and Meharry Medical College, School of Graduate Studies and Research. She currently serves as a Technical Consultant for the Fisk-MMC HBCU Wellness Project. Follow her on twitter at @EClareStewart.