Entering your last year in college can be exciting, sad, and daunting. It’s also a time to take advantage of what Wake Forest has to offer you – one last time. Perhaps, it’s rolling the Quad after a big win, running in Hit the Bricks, or dancing for Shag on the Mag. These nostalgic events are important. However, there are also plenty of opportunities to prepare you for life after college. To ease some of the anxiety, the OPCD’s WFU alums want to share their advice for soaking up what Wake Forest has to offer you before leaving the familiarity of college and starting this thing called life after college.
Here are their bites of reality:
It’s never too late to reach out and build relationships with the amazing faculty and staff members that you have right in front of you. I wish I would have left my comfort zone of friends and extracurricular activities and been bold enough to ask a professor or staff person that I respected and admired to grab a cup of coffee. Take advantage of their wisdom and build relationships with older mentors who you can stay connected with beyond life at Wake Forest.
Go Beyond the Bubble and Explore the Winston-Salem Community.
If you haven’t had an opportunity to go beyond the Wake Forest bubble, I encourage you to do so. There are often networking events, service opportunities, special programs, comedy shows and more that offer you a taste of what life could be as a budding young professional in your next destination. You might even give public transit a try to test how good you are at navigating an unfamiliar place. There’s no need to wait until you’re away from Wake Forest to experience the “real world” when you can explore a developing and vibrant community right now as a senior student.
Talk to People. Really Talk to People.
Not just the people that you go to school with, but the people all around you. Do you want to learn more about Winston? Ask someone you see at a restaurant what they like about the city? Do you want to learn more about what one of our guest speakers does? Make it a point to talk with them after their presentation. Are you interested in learning more about a particular field or profession? Take advantage of the fact that the Wake Forest alumni network is strong and supportive by reaching out to alumni on LinkedIn in order to ask a few questions. You will probably be surprised by just how helpful these alumni can be.
Start Taking Yourself Seriously…But Not Too Seriously.
Having just experienced senior year, I can honestly say that I’ve (very recently) been in your shoes. It doesn’t take long before you start to realize that in the fall of next coming year, you will not be returning to the Forest for classes. It’s a wake-up call. However, don’t let it detract from your experience of being a senior on this amazing campus. I encourage you to do some self-searching to really find what you’re passionate about before the job applications need to be submitted. Take some ‘you’ time and find out what really inspires you. If you give yourself the opportunity to establish this now, the other pieces of your life will fall into place.
Soak It All In.
I’d have to say that my advice to seniors would be for them to soak it all in while they can. Take time to do well academically, but also spend time doing things they enjoy. If there is an event or activity on campus that they’re interested in, then explore it and become involved. Are there campus clubs or organizations they have wanted to join but haven’t taken time to do so? Do it now. While going through the year, take a few moments from time to time to reflect on what you look forward to and what gets you excited. These experiences are invaluable and will help you gain self-knowledge and confidence when you get into the real world.