Welcome to our College-in-Covid series! In this series, we pen a letter to each college class to start you off in your first semester/quarter back on campus. Good luck!
Congratulations on being one step closer to graduation! You are halfway done with your bachelor’s degree and that alone is something to celebrate. Junior year is monumental and you have a pretty good idea of what to expect. During these past three years of your college experience, you are not only thinking about the future, but you are also trying to figure out who you are as a person. During my junior year of college, I reflected on what I’ve accomplished while also looking ahead to life after graduation.
Junior year can bring about times of confidence and uncertainty. You may experience feeling confident because you have reached the halfway point of college. However, you may also feel uncertain about what the future will offer. You may have decided upon a major but are unsure about what your career will look like after graduating college. Personally, I can relate to this as I am set to graduate college this semester. My emotions vary from feelings of excitement to anxiety to feeling lost and a bit confused. But relax, that's normal.
Half way done, Half way to go!
I like to refer to junior year as ‘senior year jr.’ The junior year presents a new set of challenges. For the first time during college, you may now be starting to really sit down and think about what life after undergrad looks like. You may be thinking of pursuing a master's degree or taking the year off after graduation. The point is you’re thinking about your future in a brand new mindset. A young adult mindset. In addition, as you are starting to see the end of your college journey, nostalgia may kick in. Getting lost on campus freshman year starts to become a distant memory. Your attachment to places on campus has started to feel like home. Your roommates have become your second family. And the professor you were once intimidated by has become a valued resource to help advise and motivate you through the few semesters you have left. You’ve created core memories that will stick with you for a lifetime.
In all honesty, junior year can be more academically rigorous as you are becoming more immersed in your courses. This can feel stressful as the course load may intensify. Don’t be afraid to seek help and guidance from your college career center and career counselors. Also, plan appointments to meet with your advisors and professors to maintain and strengthen your GPA and balances your mental health.
One of my favorite experiences in college was getting the opportunity to meet so many new people. Enjoy your remaining time in college, expand your peer circle, find new ways to enjoy life on campus, and look forward to what is coming next. Taking it one step at a time will help you to avoid being overwhelmed by your pending future.
With that being said, I asked a few of my college friends who have all walked in your shoes to share a little advice to help with the transition from academic to a career a bit easier, and how to maintain your mental wellness and excel in college.
12 Practical Tips from Seniors and Graduates:
Micheal R. (graduate) “Time management. I know that you probably hear this a lot, but time management is so important, classes are only getting harder, and you have got to be on top of your game”.
Liza T. (college senior) “If you are given a full semester to write a research paper, do NOT wait until 11 p.m. the night before its due to start the paper. I promise you will be miserable if you wait until the last minute. Professors can actually tell if a paper was written last minute. Always make a habit of turning in your best work, if you need an extension, for probable cause, it’s always better to ask for extra time rather than turn in “C” material work”.
Balancing Social and Academic Life
Sienna A. (recent college graduate) “Set aside time to call your parents or text them. Most likely your parents or caregivers miss you and they always want to hear how you’re doing. Calling my grandmother every Monday just improves the rest of my week by 100%.
Curtis J.(graduate) “There is nothing wrong with skipping a party to stay in and watch a movie. I promise you are not missing anything huge. Learn how to party in moderation, because overkill partying will start to affect your academic life and before you know it, your GPA is plummeting”
Sierra B. (college senior) “make time for your friends from home. Being in school for three years now, you basically know who your friends are. But it’s important to remember your friends from home you don’t see every day.
Marie L. (recent graduate) “Take every opportunity- if there’s a school event, go even if it seems lame. You won’t remember all the nights you binged on Grey’s Anatomy, but you will remember going to sports games with friends.
Importance of Communication
Janice G. (graduate) “If you feel like you’re falling behind in a class, talk to your professors. Don’t be scared to speak to them. They are there to teach you things. You may also develop a forever connection and use them as references and advice in the future.”
Allen M. (recent graduate) “You may have heard this during your time spent in college, but Network, Network, Network! An important part of junior year is being social and networking with fellow classmates, alumni, professors, and campus staff.”
Having A Successful School Year
Francesca M. (college senior) “Figure out your interests and what all you must do before you make an informed decision about your academics as well as your post-undergrad life. A few ways that helped me to identify and map out my interests were writing out my goals and creating a vision board, so you feel prepared. Junior year and the overall transition into adulthood can be daunting, however, having more than one game plan will make you feel less stressed and more confident about your overall decisions. “
Micheal R. (college senior) “Don’t forget to read your textbooks. So many answers are online nowadays, but when you actually take time to read your expensive textbook you retain information faster and for a longer period of time. Also, you’ll impress your professor when they ask a question in class, and you’re the only one that knows the answer.”
Maintaining Mental Wellness in College
Raquel G. (college senior) “Don’t be so hard on yourself. Understand that you are human and you’re going to make mistakes. The beauty of making mistakes is you get to learn from them, and try really hard not to make them again.”
Francesca M. (college senior) “There is no need for you to be super stressed, you still have a senior year left, and a lot can happen in one year. Try to relax, continue to do the things you enjoy, and make the best of the time you have left in college. Prioritizing your mental health is a super important factor in being successful in college.”
In conclusion, similar to how it’s important to decide on a major in college, it’s important to find your happy place while completing your 4-5 year journey. Finding stress relievers and constructive distractions will help you survive your junior year of college. If you don’t have a stress reliever in college, now is the perfect time to find one. It may feel as though you don’t have any time to yourself, now that you are in your major, but you must make time for yourself and your mental health. Take up activities such as starting a new hobby, community service, or learn a new skill. For more information on self-care and stress relievers visit this link: https://www.mytalklet.com/post/cope-with-stress
You may be stressed and unsure of what is yet to come, but keep in mind, “Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for today.” -Malcolm X.
By: Francesca Mina
For more mental health tips, check out our Instagram page @mytalklet for daily tips to maintain and improve your mental health!