Veronica Whitehead: Fellow seniors, it’s now time to freak out

Welcome back to UDM. Did you miss it?

Did you miss the late nights, the seemingly endless sea of papers, the heavy backpack, the sweltering heat inside Briggs and the long hours of studying, writing and reading?

But I guess that’s what we come to college for, though, right? 

Thank God it’s only four years.

In fact, this is the beginning of the end for many of our students at UDM. The seniors, of which I am one, are only two semesters away from starting a new chapter of their lives. 

How scary is that?

If you’re a first-, second- or third-year student, you can stop reading right about now. But if you’re a senior, feel free to power through.

How many of you are totally freaked out right?

In the interest of full disclosure (because why not be honest), I’m living in a fairly delightful state of denial, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

I’m going to allow myself to dwell here for a few more weeks, but then I’ll have to snap out of it and start preparing for my future.

So, if you’d like to join me in this crispy realization that life is starting in a few short months, I have a few things to share with you.

Number one, if you have not already, start building your credit. When you graduate, you’re probably going to have a couple – or many – thousand dollars of debt.

According to an article from CNN, the average college student graduates with $29,400 still owed on student loans.

Because of this massive amount of debt, buying large ticket items like cars and homes will be quite the undertaking without good credit.

So, unless you want to live with your parents or a few roommates for the first ten years after your graduation, you should make sure that you have paid consistently on at least three different credit charges without default.

Along this same vein, it only takes ten minutes to figure out your budget but it offers you a tremendous amount of peace.

Next, and this step is absolutely essential, you actually have to adhere to the strategies you’ve outlined in your budget.

It is also important to write a good resume, filled with internships for the career in which you want to work.  

Also, don’t forget that you have paid a lot of money to earn your degree. If you are looking for a job, don’t put your application in at Lowe’s. Instead, look for a career in your field.

Too often, I have seen people spend thousands of dollars to do what they love and then get comfortable at the job they took to earn money throughout college.

I could go on and on, but feel free to seek the advice of someone who isn’t a college student as well.

This new chapter we’re about to embark on is an exciting one, so don’t let yourself get overwhelmed; make plans, seek advice from the wise and trust that you know what you want to do with the rest of your life.