Dear Seniors,

Dear seniors,

We are less than a month from graduation and we are entering a very exciting, yet terrifying, time of our lives. I’m right there with you. I have my Honors in the major project to complete, and almost every exam this semester is a full research paper. I am trying to hold down two jobs and at the same time,write essay after essay for scholarships so I can pay for medical school. All the while trying to remember that this is senior year and I should enjoy each and every last moment of it because this is it. That’s a stressful load, and we all feel it no matter what variation of work you have to do.

I am one of the lucky few who can say that she knows exactly what she is doing with her life after graduating from dear old Roanoke. But that is not a reality for some of us, and so I am going to try my best to help you de-stress a bit.

First off: it is okay. Parents push you into immediately going into graduate school or getting a job/internship. Roanoke is constantly sending emails asking what you are doing, and your relatives and even friends want to know where you will end up. Whether you’re in the job hunt, or trying to take a little bit of time off to figure out what you want to do, it’s hard to own up to the stigma that seems to follow. You’re not alone.  Many college seniors face the same predicament of not knowing where they are going, and you just have to remember that.

You are not the first one to go through this stressful problem, nor will you be the last. Yet the harsh truth does remain that we do have to move on. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Roanoke trains us with LinkedIn, resume writing skills, internship/job fairs, and interview skills for a reason; because it all helps. That liberal arts degree you’re getting helps.

Everything adds up, and even if you don’t have a certain skill set mentioned in a job you’re looking at, apply anyways. Businesses looking to hire and looking to hire those people with the courage to apply even if they don’t have that masters or specific computer skill. It cannot hurt to send in a resume and to follow up.

Use connections. Connections make all the difference in the world. Try to hook-up with some old Roanoke alum that works in the area, of work,  you might be interested in. There is always some advice and even possible job connections available.

Going into the workforce after graduation does not mean you are going to be starting right away at your dream job. The world just doesn’t work that way. So keep dreaming. Apply for entry level jobs that interest you in any career, stick with it for a little while until you have more time to find out what you want to do, until you get on your feet, until you save money to work towards extra schooling, or until you get a better offer. Nothing is set in stone. Just because you apply and get a job doesn’t mean you have to take it. Just because you take a job and work for 5 months doesn’t mean you have to stay there for life.

That’s just the work force. But the same for graduate school. No matter what situation you are in, whether not getting in or wanting to take time off, you will be fine. Take the time off. Take the time to get a job and save money and go in knowing who you are and knowing that you are more stable than those who go straight into more schooling (probably).

Spend your last month here doing you. Enjoy the friends and the Roanoke bubble for just a month more because soon we are all out in the real world. Take some time to think about yourself and what you want. Not what your parents want, not what your friends want, but what you want. The more you figure out who you are and where you want to head, the faster you can get to that dream job. Hell, even go take some time and bartend at the beach for a while. Take a break, we deserve it.

Christy Blevins