(Photo by Brian De Los Santos)
Senior year is a student’s last chance to make the most of what time they have left at Cal Poly. To balance out how overwhelming preparing for graduation and the “real world” can be, some students make it a point to take advantage of all that San Luis Obispo and the Central Coast have to offer before leaving it.
“Once it hit me this year that I was graduating, I worked on a bucket list for things that I needed to do during my remaining time in SLO,” journalism senior Katie Maloney said. “So far, I have completed most of what’s on my list.”
Maloney said her list included tackling the major hikes such as The P, Bishop Peak, Cerro San Luis, Reservoir Canyon and Montaña de Oro. Also on her list was conquering the tri-tip tri-top challenge, going to pint night, tot night and trivia night downtown.
In addition to also having hiking and going downtown on her list of things to do before graduation, sociology senior Marisa Wishart said attending more sporting events was a main priority for her this year. She said everyone should go to at least one football, basketball, soccer (versus UC Santa Barbara) and rugby game and support the Mustangs.
“There are so many amazing things to do here, so the list really could go on forever,” Wishart said.
Wishart said she was able to stay on top of graduation requirements by meeting with a career counselor once in her junior year and meeting with an adviser once a quarter. She said it is important to try to get your graduation papers in to administration four quarters in advance just to make sure that everything is good to go.
“Start thinking about whom you want your senior project adviser to be about a quarter in advance, and start brainstorming for topics around that time if you can,” Wishart said.
Maloney said she recommends being especially aware of deadlines. The Graduation Writing Requirement (GWR) can be fulfilled either by passing a GWR-approved upper-division course or by passing the Writing Proficiency Exam (WPE), which is offered once a quarter on a Saturday morning.
“As graduation approaches, check out the Grad Center on the bookstore website to find all of the information regarding the ceremony, such as times and dates, how to send out graduation announcements and when to get your cap and gown,” Maloney said.
In addition to completing your bucket list of things you must do before you leave SLO and keeping on top of graduation responsibilities, seniors should take advantage of campus resources to jumpstart their career search.
“Joining a club that pertains to your major is a great way to build your network and have access to resources, like helpful workshops,” Maloney said. “LinkedIn is key to finding a job because not only will employers be searching for you, but you can also connect to other people that can potentially help you score an interview.”
College of Liberal Arts Career Counselor Charlotte Rinaldi said social media, particularly LinkedIn, has become central in career exploration, job searching and career management.
“While you won’t find every field equally represented, there is no debating how powerful LinkedIn has become,” Rinaldi said. “Perhaps most important, networking is absolutely essential for today’s job seeker and LinkedIn is a perfect way to find and make a first contact.”
Rinaldi said she tells graduating seniors that change happens faster than ever, so it is important to keep their skills current, develop a meaningful network and reevaluate their values frequently. This way they have the qualifications others need, have the support necessary to pursue the next opportunity and have a clear picture of what is most important in their life.
Maloney said she is taking a trip to Hawaii after graduation and then heading to Southern California to look for a job in Los Angeles at a Public Relations firm or a television network.
“Although I am nervous for the unknown, I am excited to see what the future holds for me,” Maloney said.
Wishart said she is looking forward to a break from school and work after graduation. She said she plans to relax this summer before she moves back up north to start her grown-up job search.
“I’m going to miss my friends and the town,” Wishart said. ” SLO is so laid back, and the people are so friendly. And Firestone. I am definitely going to miss Firestone.”