The 8 Most Important Things to do the Summer Before Your Senior Year

By: Meghan King

When I think back to my summer before senior year, there were some very important things that I did to prepare for this life-changing phase. Here is my advice for what you should be doing this summer to get ready for your senior year.

  1. Intern somewhere and learn something. Interning the summer before senior year was very important to my success as a senior. It enabled me to have a professional experience that propelled me with confidence into this “adulthood” thing that started after graduation. By embracing that opportunity, I learned more about myself as a result. Senior year is crunch time for honing in on your passions and making sure that you have a good idea of what you want to do after graduation – grad school, employment, volunteer service, etc. But most importantly, by learning something at my internship, I was able to open doors for my senior year that helped me really understand what my next move was going to be.

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    Some of the wonderful people from my internship last year at the Office of Leadership & Training!

  2. Do some research. What does that mean? You’re going to have to make some big decisions about your future soon. So look up the graduate programs in your major, figure out what apartment hunting may look like, find out what jobs could be available to you with your major and experience, figure out what cities have opportunities you’d be interested in and that you can afford to live in. If you don’t know your options, how do you know you have them?
  3. Live in the moment. Take pictures, go on day trips, go to the beach, and watch Netflix. This is really important. It is important to embrace this summer because it may be the last summer that doesn’t involve a full time job. So take pictures of your beautiful friends and sleep in…within reason.

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    Embrace this time with your friends! Soon you’ll be taking a similar picture at graduation.

  4. Try to save up some money. Things next year can get pretty expensive, or add up. Your class work or trying to find time for all of the leadership positions you now have because you are a senior may mean less hours at your job than you usually have. So try and use this summer to give yourself a cushion so this isn’t as big of a deal later down the road and you can really embrace this time.
  5. Look for programs on campus to help you! The Office of Leadership has a Backpack to Briefcase program that’s whole purpose is to help the transition post-graduation. This program has information about apartment hunting, the job search, cooking a real meal (no, not ramen noodles), budgeting, and more. Besides, actually doing the research for these programs helped me a ton senior year – so I know that you will gain something for going when the year starts. There are a lot of programs similar to this at Rutgers, so the summer before your senior year, decide that you are going to attend them once you get back to campus.
  6. Do not read those “after senior year your life ends” articles. Or read them, that’s fine. But don’t let that negativity ruin this time in your life. Senior year is about making it count and embracing all of things in college you loved and then finding your footing afterwards. Dreading the end of it is not helpful, I’d like to put another narrative out there. Embrace this time, and then embrace it ending. It’s going to be okay.
  7. Talk to your mentors and role models. The summer before senior year I spoke with my mentors and this allowed me to really get a good idea of how I wanted my senior year to go. I talked to everyone from my boss at my internship, my hall directors from when I was an RA, the president of my student org before me, and my younger sister. These people that can serve as a bouncing board to your ideas and guiding lights when you are lost are invaluable.
  8. Embrace the questions. You are going to go through phases with this. Get ready for everyone to ask you “how’s it feel to be a senior?” Or the famous “what are you doing after graduation?” And it would not surprise me if that already started. Not knowing how you feel about it is perfectly normally. Take the time to figure it out, and embrace the unknown. I am the most “planning” oriented person in the world, but part of growing up is figuring out that it is okay to not know what is coming next.

Be proactive, take charge of your own future, and embrace this incredible time in your life, and you will be just fine. Congrats Class of 2015 – you are seniors!


 

1395923_2175836278838_844560418_nMeghan King is a Master of Education candidate at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education with concentrations in Social Studies (K-12) and Urban Education. She is also the Summer Intern for the Office of Leadership & Training and the Site Coordinator for Camp UKnight. Meghan is an alumna of Rutgers University and Douglass Residential College (Class of 2014). In undergrad, she was an RA on the Cook/Douglass campus, Producer of Cabaret Theatre, and Site Leader for Alternative Breaks.

Study Abroad: Utilizing Leadership Overseas

By: Christina Colon 

Okay, I have a confession to make.

unnamed (1)I had always been a “people person” and avid writer, but never took the steps to implement the two in terms of leadership. Sure, I wanted to donate my skills to a cause, or project of some sort. But putting my words (and self!) to use was dampened by a terrible truth at hand: I was scared. I had never even considered myself in the same league as those that tried, and accomplished. What if I tried, and failed? This went for any opportunity that I encountered, and talked myself out of.  I used my apprehension practically as an excuse to not get involved.

Obviously, I realized that an attitude like that would never lead me anywhere. Besides, no one magically wakes up and claims a position, or is born with the capacity to inspire. It takes hard work, dedication, and the right mindset to do so. This is also in addition to one other key ingredient: Courage. In order to take action, you’ve got to take risks. Which is exactly why I decided to study abroad this summer.

unnamed (2)Since it was my first time flying solo, let alone to an unknown country, I was initially terrified. What if I had difficulty making friends, or experienced trouble with the course? Despite these fears, I still made it all the way to Lewes, United Kingdom. And since returning, I can honestly say that I am so happy I got on that flight! I spent the greatest 2 ½ weeks of my life, learning how to be a better writer, while enjoying the other benefits of the program. Our group went on daily hikes (92 miles in total by the end of our stay!), and visited places like the London Tower and Globe Theatre. We all grew very close, and I’m fortunate to have shared the trip with such amazing people.

I never expected that so many rewards would come just from going outside of my comfort zone. Not only did I gain insight on the English culture, ample material for the portfolio I’m expected to submit, and new unnamed (3)friends—I came back to the states with confidence. Looking at the photos I took and thinking of the memories I made, I feel a different kind of scared. Imagine if I had never worked up the nerve to embark on such an adventure! I would’ve really missed out.

In anyone’s pursuit of success, service, and activism, there will always be some level of fear. It’s natural! It also indicates that we’re doing something that matters. But we should never be held back from initiating our desires. After all, being a leader takes bravery. Now, more than ever, I’m motivated to pursue my passions, and implement them within the Leadership Office and Rutgers community.

Actually, I’ll probably travel beyond that. This experience taught me that there’s no limit to fueling possibilities.

I’m taking chances to become the leader I know I can be…what RU waiting for?


 

unnamedChristina Colon is a School of Communication and Information senior, studying Communication and English. She is currently the Secretary for Speak Out: Exploring Womanhood, a student blogger for the Rutgers Admissions website, and will be the Ignite Captain for the upcoming Mark Conference. The aspiring author hopes to travel the world, become more involved with community and outreach programs, and obtain an active position within the National Eating Disorders Association. She just began working for the organization as a Communications Intern. Her addictions include coffee, Marvel superhero movies, and writing.

Summer 2014: I’ve begun making my mark, what R U waiting for?

By: Teodora Odzakovic

iamge oneIn high school, I always felt disheartened by the competition surrounding leadership positions. These positions were used as “hooks” on ones resume for college applications. Rather than join an organization for this seemingly superficial reason, I got involved in community service. Community service was something I did because I loved it – not for my resume. But by the time college rolled around, I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to find my niche at Rutgers. I was intimidated by the size of Rutgers: hundreds of organizations, hundreds of possibilities, thousands of leadership seeking students. How could I possibly know which organization would be right for me? What would happen if I didn’t find my passion as a first-year? For the entirety of my first semester, I was on a quest to find an incredible opportunity which I would want to devote my time towards. So I dabbled in a few clubs and tried to get involved in activities I wasn’t really passionate about. Let’s just say that by the end of first semester, I was upset that it seemed like everyone around me had already found an activity which they loved.

Over winter break, I began to question myself: Why did I want to be a leader at Rutgers so badly? How could “leadership” help me reach a goal? What even was my goal? I know that I’ve always had a desire to help people. What I love most is offering advice to make people reach their highest potential. So I decided my goal was going to be to advise other students on campus (although at the time I didn’t know what I could advise them on). But I still needed the how. I found my answer and inspiration at the Mark Conference on March 1, 2014.

Timage twohe Mark Conference is an innovative leadership conference meant to show students how they can “make their mark” on the world. The objective is to ignite the leader within all of us. Laverne Cox, Post Secret founder Frank Warren, and many other renowned speakers shared their experiences and how they used leadership skills to achieve their goals. I was moved by many of the speakers and how much devotion they had towards their cause. The conferences’ initiative was something I was passionate about, I finally found my niche. After the conference, I knew I had to get involved with the Office of Leadership & Training. This was my new found purpose: help people (and myself in the process) become the leader they were born to be. Getting involved in the conference was the how: after an application process I was selected to be the Speaker Captain. I help select and interact with the speakers who we bring to Rutgers for the Mark Conference. This is what I am passionate about. I know I am helping plan something which will promote hundreds of students like myself to branch out and become leaders themselves.

I’ve begun making my mark, what R U waiting for?


 

bio pictureTeodora Odzakovic is an Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in cell biology and neuroscience. She co-founded a non-profit organization, Select to Give, which campaigns for children’s autism awareness in the Middle East. The organization seeks to inform families on indicators of autism, and the importance of early treatment. This summer she will be traveling to the Holy Land to oversee her campaign efforts. Once she returns, Teodora will be working at her part-time retail job at Polo Ralph Lauren.