OPINION: Why students should take advantage of their college experience ahead of graduation


As a previous Kansas State student, I am in an odd position of having one foot in and one foot out. I walked in graduation in May as a summer graduate that would receive my diploma in August after finishing a few credit hours online.

This is nice because it means I don’t have to return in the fall for another full semester. It’s like seeing and approaching the light at the end of the tunnel in a makeshift car that can only go five miles per hour for the next three months.

The transition has come with unexpected frustration. I’m free, but it feels as if I can’t really do much with this freedom. Here is what I wish I would have known before I graduated, moved away from Manhattan and was (partially) thrown into this odd phenomenon that they call The Real World.

1. College is truly a moment in time and when we leave, that time runs out and comes to a close.

Yes, we can come back to town to visit friends, go to the infamous Aggieville for a night out or to The Bill on a Saturday to cheer on the Cats but it will never again be how we left it. It’s the people, the specific events and where we’re at in our lives that make those memories and good times so good. It would be impossible to recreate but that creates more room for a new chapter.

2. The resources in college are vital and incredibly helpful, so take advantage of them NOW.

We are young adults. We want to think back and know that we did our best but also that we looked our best. Go to the Rec Center. You’re already paying for it. When you graduate, a gym membership costs anywhere from $40 to $50, adding up to be around $800 for an entire year.

If you need counseling, get some counseling. I have gone to Counseling Services for months at a time. The first four sessions are free. Outside of college, seeking professional medical help becomes a slippery slope depending on ever-changing insurance policies or lack thereof.

Start working on your resume now. There are people who are willing to help you get prepared to put your best foot forward at the K-State Career Center. Think how much easier it would be to have help now, when it doesn’t matter as much, compared to an all-or-nothing scenario that depends upon how you present your self on paper.

3. You are going to feel intimidated.

Joining the working class of professionals will be daunting for all of us. You could be about to start the highest paying job in your field or preparing to begin classes at the best graduate school in the country and it will still feel at least a little scary. This is because you will realize that getting your undergraduate degree was only the beginning.

But hey, at least we’re off to a good start. With time and putting our knowledge gained from such a special university to use, I’m sure that we’ll be able to set ourselves apart in the working world.

Mykia Carrell is a senior in mass communications who graduates this summer. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.