Back to School (+ Tips)

I started my senior year of college!

It’s back to school for most students across the United States and parents couldn’t be happier, while teachers couldn’t be more stressed out. Back to school is a time of new beginnings, remembering old memories and friends, and looking to the future.

I can’t believe that I am already a senior in college. The time has gone by in the blink of an eye, and I’m sure that taking a year away to complete four NASA internships didn’t help. This semester I’m taking courses to finish up my journalism major like multimedia, ethics, editing, and science journalism. It’s been fun so far but it’s also been a challenging transition to get back into school mode after spending a year working as a full-time intern.

Since the start of school, I’ve received so many emails from my university about graduation and applying for graduation, and it’s hard to think about right now. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so excited for graduation but it seems like something that will happen in a long time — when in reality it’s only nine months. *STRESS* I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I’m contemplating different options for where I want to take my life post-graduation. I look at life as a series of adventures, so I’m searching for my next adventure in life.

Looking back on college, here are some tips that I would give college students, especially incoming college students:

  • If you can afford it, live on campus your freshman year. I did not and my social life suffered majorly because of it for the rest of my college life.
Steward Observatory on campus
  • If you can avoid it, don’t work more than 10-15 hours a week at a job, especially your freshman year. I worked about 25 hours (max. hours for student jobs at my university) at the Starbucks on campus my freshman and sophomore year and it was the ABSOLUTE WORST. I was always exhausted and spent late nights doing homework.
  • Find a job that you’re really interested in. As I mentioned, I worked at Starbucks and while it was an interesting learning experience, it was a dead-end job. Sure, do it for a year or two to get your feet wet, but try to find something that you’re really passionate about. I now work at the observatory on campus and I LOVE it! It’s such an incredible job and working longer hours is actually fun instead of painful. I’ll be sad when I am no longer allowed to work there when I graduate.
  • Go to sports events! I love football, basketball, and baseball games; I love going to gymnastics meets and hockey matches. It really gets you into the school spirit and it is so worth the price. It fills up your weekends and weeknights with something fun that you can do with your friends or classmates and builds a bond between you and your school.
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Wilbur the Wildcat, UA’s mascot at a basketball game
  • Live close to your university. I have had a 30-45 minute commute my entire college life and it is the worst. It hurts my social life, my schooling, and my mental health and sleep. It just really sucks, especially when you’re already exhausted from studying for hours or working long hours.
  • Complete internships! If there is some place that you think would be interesting to intern at, apply for an internship or ask if you can shadow someone for a day. Organizations are really understanding of college students and are encouraging of college students (especially since internships can mean free labor, which sucks for us but gets you valuable experience to put on your resume.). It never hurts to ask and if they say no, then check again in a year or ask somewhere else.
  • Foster relationships with your professors and advisers. Your professors are the ones who have the life and career experience, so USE THEM! If you don’t know what a certain career is like reach out to a professor who had that career, schedule a meeting during their office hours, and ask them! They’re literally there to teach students, and are usually very passionate about their work and love talking about it. Professors are very receptive to students and helping them find the career that will best suit them. Visiting professors during office hours also gain you brownie points if you take their classes and helps them remember you. This is important because you can use them as references and letters of recommendation for internships, graduate schools, and jobs.
Dusk views from my garage on campus


  • It’s okay if you don’t know what you want to do! It’s okay to figure out what you want to major in, what career you want, where you want your life to go after graduation. Honestly, 90% of students feel the exact same way. I know that I do! I have no idea what I’m going to do after graduation. I have an idea, but who knows if it’ll actually happen. Of course, there comes a certain point where you have to get your *stuff* together, but that point comes at different points for everyone.


Thank you for reading! Do you have any other tips for college students? Let me know in the comments below and like this post if you want more like it!




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