The semester ended and the Class of 2022 is moving on from the University of Arizona. But for the Class of 2023, the new class of seniors, the final stage of their college career is about to begin.
Senior year isn’t easy, but the current graduating class has some advice to offer to the rising fourth-year students.
Between the job search, academic responsibilities and social events, senior year is a balancing act. Senior communication major Jordan Krieger has struggled with this herself and emphasized the importance of taking breaks.
“You have to have time for yourself,” Krieger said. “I’m constantly juggling social, school, figuring out what I’m doing next year and it’s important to just take a step back.”
Information science and eSociety and nutritional sciences major Shannon Stickles prepared for her senior year by planning ahead and meeting with her advisor to figure out all the classes she would need to graduate before the year even started. This way, she was able to finish the year with a lighter course load.
“I did that so this last second half of the semester I had more time to focus on applying to jobs and interviews,” Stickles said.
As much as she said she believes in planning ahead, Stickles also advised that students focus on one task at a time.
“Plan out your week, your month, but take it day by day,” Stickles said. “There’s only so much you have that’s in your control.”
One of the most intimidating parts of senior year for many is preparing for life after college. Stickles said she understands how challenging the search for a job can be and reassured current students that it’s okay to not have everything figured out yet.
“It’s a super stressful thing to go through,” Stickles said. “If you’re graduating without a job set up already, it’s completely fine and it’s very normal.”
There are on-campus resources to assist with this process as well. Krieger started working at the UA’s LifeLab, an on-campus center located in the Bear Down Building. LifeLab provides access to resources on topics like resumes, interviews, looking for jobs and setting career goals. Krieger especially recommends that students take advantage of the Career Document Dropbox where anyone can receive digital feedback on their resumes, cover letters and more without even making an appointment.
“I would highly recommend also that juniors go and find out all of the resources that are available,” Krieger said. “It is a really great resource. I beg everyone to go.”
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Alexandra Bruckner, a musical theatre student, has her own advice about finding a job after college.
“I’m really lucky because I’ve known what I’ve wanted for a long time,” Bruckner said. “It’s just a matter of trusting myself.”
Bruckner spoke specifically to the challenges faced by her and other arts students, as they enter a highly competitive field.
“You need to learn how to remain humble and keep your humility, stay grounded, while also being assertive and being confident in the skills that you have worked so hard to craft,” Bruckner said.
Despite the stress of future jobs, Bruckner said it’s important to have time to continue exploring passions and extracurriculars. Her favorite parts of senior year were strengthening her friendships and participating in two musicals.
“That makes school worthwhile for me,” Bruckner said.
JJ Flowers, who studied physiology and family studies and human development, also believes in balancing these different aspects of life as well.
“Routine and spontaneity were really important things,” Flowers said. “Routine is what keeps you structured but spontaneity is what keeps your life exciting.”
Flowers is using the end of the semester to finish strong with the organizations he’s a part of and spend time with his friends as well.
“It’s really important to focus on your mental health and doing the things you enjoy, especially if you’re super busy,” Flowers said.
Bruckner also mentioned the importance of prioritizing mental health and personal growth, even in stressful times.
“I think the most important thing overall is to practice gratitude,” Bruckner said.
Another important part of senior year is the social aspect, as it’s the last opportunity for many students to spend significant time with their friends.
“My senior year was the year that I really solidified the friends that I’ll have for the rest of my life,” Flowers said.
Stickles voiced a similar opinion and encouraged students to make the most out of living in Tucson before they leave school.
“Spend as much time with your friends as you can,” Stickles said. “Go out and do fun things in Tucson.”
Senior year is full of goodbyes and conclusions. Krieger’s last words of advice are to embrace your last year of college and all of the many emotions that may come with it.
“Make the most of it, stress and all,” Krieger said. “You only experience college once, let alone your senior year.”
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