What to Expect on Your Last Day of College
Mixed emotions, thoughts of the future, excitement and nerves are all a part of your last day of college. Here’s what to expect.
You Might Feel Nostalgic
Some thoughts of the past might start to drift by in your mind throughout the day at random moments. Getting ready for class might spur a memory of getting ready several years ago during your first semester. Walking down a familiar path might have you dreaming of memories of walking the same path over the last several years. Try to think of these nostalgic memories with happiness and save them as sweet memories in your mind, knowing you are about to embark on the next chapter of your life and create many more memories!
You Might Also Feel Overwhelmed
It might be overwhelming to think that your future starts now, as in right now! But try to remind yourself that you’ve worked hard for this moment — all the classes and years have prepared you for this next big part of your life.
Mixed Emotions: Excitement and Nerves
Expect to feel excited but also nervous on your last day of college. Excitement about new opportunities and the road ahead, but nervous about what is to come and if you can make it (spoiler alert: of course you can!). Expect to feel some bittersweet emotions — you may feel sad about ending an important chapter in your life, but also very happy and proud of the incredible accomplishments you’ve achieved by graduating college.
Comparison is a Real Issue
Some of your colleagues and classmates may already have jobs lined up to start right away. Some people you know may not have started the job hunt at all. Some may be lining up travel plans or celebrations and some may completely brush aside graduation day like it is nothing. Don’t compare yourself to everyone around you. In the same way that you’ve met a wide range of people throughout your studies, so will be their plans and planning styles for the future. Know that you are making the best choice for you, whatever it may be.
Understand How Much You’ve Changed
Your last day of college, while full of social interactions and celebrations, should also be a time for self-reflection. You will likely think of how far you have come and what circumstances you’ve passed over the last several years as a student that made you the person you are today.
Cherish the Special Bonds You’ve Made
The last several years of your life as a student has certainly had its ups and downs. Through these times, you’ve likely made incredible friendships and relationships with people, unlike any bonds you’ve experienced before. These people have been with you through it all, so take some time during your last days in college to connect with the people who have touched your life. Ask them where they plan to go and what their next steps are. Make sure to stay in touch with classmates, friends and professors who have made a difference in your life.
Tips for Your Last Day of College
With all these expected emotions and thoughts coming in and out on your last day, here are some tips to keep you going strong:
Take some time to reflect on your time as a student. This will be a busy day for you, but make sure you carve out some time for yourself to go over your last several years in your mind.
Today your mind will be running around with all sorts of thoughts. It’s a good day to make a quick list of goals for yourself for the short, medium and long term. Or if you already have goals, revisit them and see what changes, if any, need to be made now that you’re a graduate.
There have likely been many people that have taken part in your life as a college student. Take time to say goodbye and thank you to professors and peers who have helped you along the way.
The people in your life who have watched you grow will likely want to see you succeed. What better way than to send a brief announcement, either over email, written note or on social media. Make sure to send individual notices thanking those who played a special role in your life thus far.
Don’t forget that life after college is the beginning of a new era!
Next Steps: Your Future Starts Now
After the celebrations and festivities, it’s time to get organized and figure out what your future holds.
1. Celebrate! You did it!
Obviously, this is the first step after your last day of college. Before you begin the planning, worrying, and buckling down, make sure to have fun in your last days of college and celebrate all that you’ve accomplished.
2. Planning Out Your Next Steps
You may have already started planning for your next steps. If not, now is the time. Whether you are thinking of searching for a new job, internship, continuing the same job, make some decisions about where you see yourself headed in the short term. You don’t have to go the traditional route either: consider other options such as volunteering, travel, or taking time for family.
3. Create Your Goals
Take stock of your current goals for yourself — personally, professionally, financially and otherwise. Now that you are finished with school, these goals may have changed. Your last days of college are a great time to revisit goals, make some new ones, and of course get some checked off!
4. Pay Off Your Loans
Make a plan to pay off your student loans, starting now. Even if you don’t think you’ll start payments for some time, start to plan so that when the time comes, you won’t be shocked that it’s already time. Don’t forget that there are plenty of student loan forgiveness programs that can ease quite a bit of that debt.
5. Create A Budget
And stick to it, too! A well-planned and followed budget is a key to financial success after college. Look at your current income or expected income, and make a budget that includes living expenses, extra spending, debt repayment and more. Try to stay within your budget, and you’ll surely stay out of the statistics of recent graduates plunging into debt.
Inspirational Last Day of College Messages
Some words of wisdom to keep you going leading up to your last day, and then some!
- “Things may end, but memories will last forever.”
- “How lucky it is to have something that makes it so hard to say goodbye.”
- “We know what we are but not what we may be.”
- “If opportunity doesn’t come knocking, build your own door.”
- “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”
- “Your life is artful, just waiting for you to make it into art.”
- “Always remember that your work is only part of your life.”
So much has transpired between your first day of college and your last. You have likely grown and changed as a person, had unparalleled life experiences, and you have a degree to show for all of this. This may be a bitter-sweet period, but you’ll always have your college life memories for precious moments of reminiscence. Now, it’s time to go celebrate and enjoy your final days as a student!