Three tips to help you survive senior year
Read this before your senioritis kicks in.
For most of the Class of 2023, the past few years haven’t gone as expected — a pandemic seems to have a way of changing plans. These next few months will hold many changes, new beginnings, and an overall feeling of uncertainty for many.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone. This senior year survival guide will keep you on track for graduation and hopefully save your peace of mind.
First and foremost, it is imperative that you meet all graduation requirements.
Review your Degree Audit Reporting System each semester and meet with your academic advisor regularly. Make sure that you’ll have enough credit hours to graduate — some degrees need 120 hours, others need 125 — and that you are scheduled to take each required course for your major and minor.
“Those last two or three classes are really important because they're the ones where everything starts getting tied together,” said Jared Woolly, an academic advisor in the School of Communication. “Finish strong.”
Maintain your GPA, go to class, and get your assignments done on time. You have worked hard these past few years. Don’t give up now.
Start the job hunt
The job search is undeniably overwhelming. There are thousands of listings, and so many variables seem out of your control.
Before you start applying, know your target and have a rough idea of the job you want and the companies you want to work for, said Claire Childress, associate director of career development and college relations.
“Before someone starts their job search, they need to know what they’re searching for and what’s out there,” Childress said. “Career and Professional Development has resources to point them to to help them with that.”
Those resources include:
First destination report: Historical data that shows where people with your major have ended up after graduation. Get an idea of what the possibilities are and find some inspiration.
- What can I do with this major? Shows possible career paths, top employers for their major’s industry, and strategies for success. Access the resource by going to career.vt.edu and scrolling to "What can I do with this major." Career and Professional Development pays for students to use this resource created by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, so some majors may be different than what's available at Virginia Tech.
- GoinGlobal: Students interested in working outside of the U.S. can browse career guides for over 40 countries.
- USA Careers: Helpful for students who know where they want to work but may not know what they want to do.
- CandidCareer: A collection of interviews from professionals in every industry imaginable.
- Career Fairs: For some, networking is a strength. For others, it’s an area of opportunity. Either way, it’s a necessity in today’s professional world, and Virginia Tech prioritizes these career fairs as a way to help connect students to tangible job opportunities.
Now that you know where you want to work and what you want to do, it’s time to gather your application materials.
Tailor your resume for each job to reflect your strengths and highlight why you’re the best fit for the position. Make sure you avoid these common mistakes before submitting your applications to best market yourself.
“Apply far and wide,” Woolly said. “Look for your dream job but understand that your first job is probably not going to be that — and that's OK. The more flexible you are, the more likely you are to get yourself in a good position come graduation.”
Enjoy senior year
Now that the nitty and gritty details are out of the way, take time to relax. Embrace your senior year and all the bittersweet “lasts” that you get to experience in Blacksburg.
“Particularly since because of how COVID shut us down a couple of years ago, most people graduating next May didn't get the full four years of living in Blacksburg the way it's supposed to be,” Woolly said. “You're in classes that are really, really important and are really, really useful. But save time for the other stuff. Embrace those Blacksburg experiences.”
Go to football games. Jump to Enter Sandman. Sit on the Drillfield as much as you can. Make more memories with the people you’ve met along the way.
Regardless of where you go, always remember: “This Is Home.”
Written by Savannah Webb, a senior and an intern for Virginia Tech Communications and Marketing