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Opinion: Making the most of your last semester of college

Hello graduating seniors, and welcome to your final semester at Belmont.

For many of us, the next year is about to be the biggest period of change we’ve ever experienced, and there’s no surefire way to make sure we’ve done everything we need to do before we graduate.

This can lead to feeling paralyzed by fear, and it’s easy to feel like you’re the only one going through these changes.

For some students, it’s difficult not to sit in that worry, but it’s important to fight back against this and use the next few months wisely to prepare for life after graduation.

The most important thing to do during this time is to take action. This can mean a variety of things, from reaching out to old connections from past jobs or internships to updating and fully using resources like Handshake.

If you’re still not sure exactly what you want to do when you graduate, don’t panic!

Belmont’s Office of Career and Professional Development has career coaches willing to sit and talk with you about your goals after graduation, and they’re equipped with assessments to help you find direction if you’re really not sure where to go, said Mary Claire Dismukes, director of Career and Professional Development.

Career coaches can help you best apply to your dream job, use assessments to figure out your strengths and in what job you can best use them, and more, Dismukes said.

Signing up for coaching is as easy as making an appointment online through Handshake, so there’s no excuse not to reach out when you need it.

If you don’t have time to make an appointment, Handshake also has career assessments. Getting some ideas of where to start is as simple as filling out a few surveys.

If you already have an idea of where you’d like to go after graduation, take this last semester to put together a solid resume and portfolio.

Show your resume to your adviser, a trusted professor or the professionals at Career and Professional Development. It’s their job to help you put together a resume that’s really going to work for you, so take advantage of their help when it comes to crafting the perfect resume.

Handshake also has sample resumes for a variety of different career fields if you’re not sure where to start.

Speaking of Handshake, take this time to fully update your account! Handshake is a great way to apply to jobs all over the country and has resources full of information about different companies and career fields, both in the U.S. and overseas.

Sure, you could look up individual jobs on your own, but a service that suggests different jobs based on your major and preferences is a colossal time saver.

If you prefer networking with companies and businesses in person, Career and Professional Development also hosts tons of events throughout the semester with companies like Universal Music Group, Apple Music and more, making it easy to learn what companies like this are looking for in their hiring processes.

The office also offers workshops on writing resumes, crushing interviews and negotiating salaries — all vital skills to have before going into the workforce.

But even with resources like this, you need to do your own research, too. Every career field has different requirements for when to apply, how long resumes should be and what additional information or portfolios they may need.

A resource like Handshake is only useful if you know when to use it and how to tailor your materials to your potential employer.

This sounds like a lot, so in case I haven’t said it enough, don’t panic!

The last semester of college is a time of transition for everyone, and we all have similar worries and fears. It’s natural to feel afraid and overwhelmed, but many have made it through before us, and as hard as it is to believe, we’ll power through it too.

Try not to spend these last few months riddled with anxiety over the future, and remember to enjoy your last semester in college. As important as it is to put your best foot forward in terms of applying for jobs, it’s just as important to cherish this last semester of school.

Spend time with your friends, focus on your grades, prepare well and the rest will come in time.

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