Guest Blogger: Alyssa DeBella (The Wise Willow)
When I started my blog three years ago, I wanted to share my new college experience with the world. I’m now in my last year of college, which brings along entirely new experiences and priorities than first year. I wanted to share some of the ways I’m preparing for the year in hopes that it helps anyone going through a similar process!
Planning for Work and Classes
Before I arrived on campus, I took the time to plan out my class and work schedule as a way to visualize what my days would look like. This was also incredibly helpful when I got emails asking for confirmation about meeting times and availability (I’m definitely a more visual person when it comes to schedules). This also helped me to see when I could fit in time for self-care, homework, cooking, and running errands.
Moving In Right Away
The move-in process can be quite tiring, but moving in completely right away is a great way to get organized and take note of what items you still need to start off the year. I’ve also found it to be a great way to de-stress at the beginning of the semester and it’s something that’s fun to do with friends who are also moving in. It’s also a great time to go through the items that you do have and determine what no longer supports the space that you’re in. I had three bins in storage for when I arrived, and one bin is now items that are no longer needed in my life. It’s a very refreshing feeling and a great way to start the semester off focused and uncluttered.
Order Books in Advance with Book Lists if Possible
This is another great way to have less stress for when you return to campus, though it can be a process that takes some time. I use a number of textbook websites (Chegg, Textbooks.com, and Amazon) to compare textbook prices. It’s a great way to save money, and I now have the books that I need to start the semester. Buying used and rented copies is also a great way to eliminate clutter at the end of the semester because you can return them to the textbook companies.
Start Preparing for Graduate School and Job Applications
This is something that I wanted to start before the semester got hectic with its workload, and it will be a significant part of my senior year experience. I’ve compiled a list of application dates, materials, links, and overall program information as a way to organize the process and start as soon as possible. I’ve taken note of when recommendation letters are needed, as this is something that I aim to ask for within the next few months in order to give professors adequate time. It’s also helpful to note whether programs are regular admission or rolling admission, as this determines when you will need to apply.
Having these materials organized before the semester starts is a great way to be prepared for post-grad meetings and will reduce some of the stress that could arise from trying to sort out all of your materials alongside your classwork.
Make Plans for Fun!
One of the most important aspects for senior year, to me, is planning for fun adventures with friends. It’s also fun to think about what you’ve always wanted to try and plan it into your year. Senior year does have a lot of work and transitions involved, but it’s also a time to enjoy the moment and the year that you have with friends after the college journey you completed together. It’s also a great time to share memories with one another and reminisce about the experience that you’ve had! I’ve only been back on campus for a few days but I have been sharing memories with friends over coffee and tea which has been the best way to start the year off.
Similarly to planning for fun, embracing changes is a key part of senior year. There is a lot of planning involved but it’s also a great time to try new things in your room, with your clothes, or with your appearance. I put a lot of my old clothes on consignment and bought new pieces to start the year off with, made new room décor, and got my hair dyed! This has been a great way for me to start the year off on a fun note, and has also been helpful in separating this year from last semester (I’m living in the same room).
What have you been doing to prepare for your semester? If you’ve already graduated, what advice do you have for college seniors? Feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to any of my social media accounts!
Alyssa is a college senior studying Political Science, Religious Studies, and Peace and Conflict Studies. She has passions for travel, sustainability, vegan living, and minimalism.