Preparing for Graduation

As a second semester senior here at Grand Valley, it is safe to say that I spend about 95% of my time thinking about graduation. Sorry, I meant to say worrying about graduation. It really is crazy to think that after three-and-a-half years, my GVSU collegiate career is finally coming to end. While graduation may still be a few months away, it is hard not to start panicking about what exactly the future will hold. As always, when I’m in a panic, what helps me feel better is to make a list. So here are my five pieces of advice (that I plan on taking myself) for getting through these next few months:

Take a deep breath

If you are anything like me, then you need to take a second and relax. Just breathe. The thought of moving on can be scary. The thought of leaving our safe college bubble filled with friends and memories can be even scarier. But with a new experience comes new opportunities, and I think that’s the best way to look at graduation. It is not necessarily moving on for good, but just starting a new chapter in our lives. We’re still young, and we still have plenty of time to figure it all out. We don’t need to have an exact plan for the future at this exact second. For now, take a deep breath and try and realize that graduation might not be as scary as we think.

Plan ahead

One way to alleviate the stress that comes with graduation is to try and plan ahead as much as you can. Where are you going to live? Where are you going to work? Get on the job search ASAP! I’m not saying it’s easy, and sometimes we can only plan so far in advance. However, waiting until the day of graduation to start looking for a place to live or work probably won’t help your stress level very much. Luckily, there are many tools out there that can help with that dreaded job search! It is a great idea to utilize the Grand Valley job board and other job search engines (Glassdoor, Indeed, even LinkedIn) as soon as you can. If you haven’t already applied anywhere, start looking into jobs in your field that you may be potentially interested in. We also have advisors and the career center right on campus to assist us in pretty much any way, shape, or form. Don’t hesitate to reach out for guidance!

Fight through the senioritis

It comes as no surprise that the closer we get to graduation date, the less motivation we still have. This is totally normal, but it would be a shame to mess up 3.5 years of hard work by having a rough last semester. I’ve learned that what helps me is to keep my eye on the prize. I know what I want in life and I know what I need to do to get there. I pride myself on working hard in school and being involved within my major because I know it will benefit me in the future. As I continue to work hard, I continue to benefit my future.

Enjoy your last semester

As a college student, we often get so wrapped up in school, work, internships, clubs, and other commitments that we can forget to just have fun and enjoy ourselves. If you are a graduating senior, this is our last semester to enjoy our time here at Grand Valley. It is totally doable to succeed in school while also setting aside time to relax or hang out with your friends. I have had an amazing past couple of years in college, and it’s sad to think that it is coming to an end. While I am excited about my next adventure, I plan to make every second of my final semester count. Work hard, play hard!

The past four years have truly been the most stressful, intense, fun, amazing and rewarding years of my life. I really encourage all underclassmen to take advantage of their time here at Grand Valley, it’s cliché and annoying- but it really does fly by. And for all of the graduating seniors out there, I think it is SO important to soak up these last few months because we are never going to get out undergrad years back- we are so close, we can do it!


About Chantal Shaw

Chantal Shaw is a senior at Grand Valley State University studying advertising and public relations. She currently serves as the Vice President of Operations for GrandPR, and is an active member in her sorority Phi mu and the GVSU PRSSA chapter. Her favorite thing in the world is watching Grey’s Anatomy with her mom and cats while eating McDonald’s. Chantal’s love of communication and writing led her to PR field, and she hopes to continue working in the public relations field upon graduation.