Words of Wisdom for Students Entering Their Last Semester of College

Some college students might be anxiously anticipating their holiday break, while others are becoming overwhelmed with countdown to their last holiday break and beginning of their last semester. A new class of graduates may be asking: What lies ahead? Will I get a job in my field? Will it make me happy? Did I pick the right major?

Mitchell Zuckoff recently shared a few words of encouragement in the NPR story “For Nervous Seniors, Some Pre-Graduation Advice” that his graduating journalism class is usually only privy to.

He says, every December, most of the seniors “hijack” the class and start spilling their hopes and fears for their entrance into the world of work. He believes a good time to have the conversation about what lies ahead is six months before graduation day, rather than the days leading up to it. His class receives the following advice:

  • “Imagine a ladder whose bottom rung is about 6 feet off the ground. That’s the reality in most fields, where the perks — be they prestige, excitement, money, or best of all, meaningful work — attract more applicants than there are jobs. It’s always been this way, I explain, and they should embrace it rather than complain about it.” He goes on to show them they have two options to get to the rung: get a boost or learn the skills to get up their on their own.
  • He also suggests they start “weaning themselves from the good life and the safety net many of them enjoy.” When they enter the world of work, they won’t have the support system, flexible hours, or general leniency they’re used to from their friends and professors. “…Accept the fact that being overlooked or underestimated is a part of life.”
  • He closes saying: “Last, I tell them to keep in touch, because I know how good they are, and how much the world needs them, even if no one knows it yet.”

Did you receive any words of wisdom from a professor that helped you transition from college to the world-of-work? Did you hear anything you didn’t want to hear? Or, are you an educator who shares wise words with a transitioning class? Share your stories in the comment box below.



“For Nervous Seniors, Some Pre-Graduation Advice,” by Mitchell Zuckoff. 12 December 2011. NPR. Accessed on 12 December 2011. http://www.npr.org/2011/12/12/143586972/pomp-circumstance-and-some-counsel?sc=fb&cc=fp

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