Graduating senior offers advice to rising juniors

As an almost graduate looking back on this past year, I recall all of the time, hard work and energy I spent preparing for my life after college; my future career.

After applying to several graduate programs, I plan to pursue a master’s degree in mental health counseling in the fall. One thing I learned during the process is that I couldn’t get enough advice. For upcoming seniors, I want to emphasize that it is never too early to begin exploring your options for your future.

Be sure your major is something you are truly interested in, and explore career options incorporating the skills and subject area involved in your major.

As I began planning my future, I spoke with several OWU professors, peers and alumni. Each and every recommendation was helpful—everyone takes a separate path, and it is both interesting and reassuring to realize all of these options exist out in “the real world.”

While this sounds obvious, don’t forget to investigate the opportunities OWU has to offer. Working one-on-one with a professor through directed readings, independent studies, internships, apprenticeships and more can serve to build your resume and provide you with more information and experience than you may think possible.

When exploring your options, be sure to take note of the requirements needed. Some programs require standardized testing, internships, apprenticeships and other experience in the field of interest. Plan ahead for these events, and be sure to prepare adequately to make the most of your time. Make the most of the summer before your senior year.

I also recommend taking advantage of the many resources offered at OWU besides professors, peers and alumni. Career services, the Writing Center, the Academic Skills Center and the Quantitative Skills Center are helpful.
Lastly, I advise you not to stress. While the application process can be intimidating, there are always options. As recent college graduates, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Even if a school, internship or job does not accept you, the process of applying (and possibly interviewing) is an excellent learning opportunity.

With this being said, it is advantageous to have a back-up plan. Many of my peers and family members are planning to spend their upcoming years working for nonprofit, volunteer and government programs to gain enriching life experience while strengthening their resumes.

I wish all of you the best of luck next year, and hope my advice is helpful.

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