…Alright, so maybe the title is a bit dramatic.
I am a senior. And this is my final semester. Wow. When people told the Freshman Me that these four years would fly by, they really weren’t lying!
The semester’s still just beginning, though, so I’ll save the wrap-up thoughts for a few months down the road. Let’s talk about how productive I was during winter break instead! Ha!
What to do for the final winter break of one’s undergraduate career? I thought it would be a last hurrah of sorts, but as it always does, real life stepped in. I found myself freaking out about my future.
But fear not, my peers! Although life after college can sometimes sound intimidating and limiting, there are actually plenty of options for us soon-to-be-graduates. Besides the usual job-hunting, I also got myself to apply to a handful of fellowships, which are an option that all students should at least check out once. Some are geared towards funding graduate school programs, if that’s your post-graduation plan, but many also offer programs for underclassman! It’s especially useful to look into if you’re interested in studying abroad at some point. Rutgers actually has its own Office of Distinguished Fellowships–if you haven’t explored this route yet, definitely go to their website, where you can quickly browse programs by year or type.
Of course, there are a bunch of other programs students might want to think about, such as Teach for America, CityYear, or the Peace Corps. Fun fact: The Honors Program sometimes hosts representatives of these kinds of opportunities through Tea with the Dean, so be sure to keep up to date with Honors events each week. (Teach for America paid a visit this past fall!)
Thankfully, my winter break didn’t consist entirely of staring at cover letters and application essays; that would just be sad. I also took a mini kind-of-road-trip with my family, starting in Las Vegas and ending in San Francisco, only my second time ever visiting the west coast. We didn’t get to spend much time in each place, but the landscapes there are so astounding, it’s honestly hard to find words to describe any of it. Sometimes it felt like we were on another planet.
The most impressive place we stopped at, though, was Zion National Park in Utah. We only had a couple of hours to drive around, but getting to see those canyons was absolutely subliminal (haven’t been to the Grand ones down in Arizona yet; no spoilers please).
I think it was quite a symbolic way to start the beginning of my last semester, traveling for the first time through places that still very much felt like America’s frontier. As the future draws near, it’s making me realize there’s still much about life that I have yet to explore.