‘It’s OK to not have answers’: Graduating seniors give underclassmen advice

Graduating seniors offer advice to underclassmen. (Photo Illustration by Kaylie McLaughlin | Collegian Media Group)

With graduation approaching fast, the class of 2022 is in the throes of preparing for both finals and the future. Undergoing a major academic and emotional transition, this year’s seniors have some well-earned wisdom to share with underclassmen.

A big takeaway for many graduates is strategic time management, which can make the difference between a balanced college experience and a chaotic one. For Connor Davis, senior in computer science, navigating this has presented quite a challenge.

“Balancing between school, work and having a social life is difficult,” Davis said. “Regardless of how much work you have, always put time aside for yourself because you’re not going to be productive unless you’re rested and in a good state of mind.”

Garrett Heitmann, senior in computer science, offered some advice on maintaining structure when deadlines pile up.

“You have to schedule your time really intentionally in college,” Heitmann said. “Use the calendar app on your phone. It doesn’t take very long to just type a date in, and then whether or not you remember something, it will pop up on your phone when you need it to.”

As students move up in their time at college, coursework and school involvement are bound to increase. Heitmann said that underclassmen should enjoy the free time that comes with freshman and sophomore year — responsibly.

“[My favorite year] was easily freshman year, but that’s because I was being a bad student,” Heitmann said. “That was a mistake, and I learned from it. Later, coursework got a lot more intensive, and I had to really learn how to schedule my daily life.”

Davis said there is a positive side to this increasing rigor.

“During freshman year, I got to do a lot more fun things, but this year I’ve enjoyed the classes I’m taking quite a bit more,” Davis said. “All throughout college, though, there’s this sense of freedom and getting to find out who you are.”

Sam Brown, senior in construction science, said that taking advantage of university resources can maximize the college experience.

“There are so many resources available within each college here,” Brown said. “Finding internships and getting involved in student organizations that are related to your major will seriously help you after graduation because employers like to see experience.”

Brown also suggested that undergraduate students align their goals with their actions as soon as possible.

“Plan ahead,” Brown said. “Have a specific career or goal in mind, or else you’ll end up wandering around aimlessly and miss out on a lot of the opportunities in front of you.”

While productivity and organization are important to prioritize in college, the social and self-developmental aspects of this period of life are just as vital. Molly Hendrick, senior in psychology, encouraged underclassmen to make the most of the adventures that only accompany the K-State experience.

“You’re here for school, but ultimately you’re only going to be in college once,” Hendrick said. “Don’t spend all your time on academics, because you’re only going to have one chance to be in this place with these people and you need to do it right. You’re going to want to have fun memories to look back on.”

Davis said that while the university environment can breed comparison, it is important to give yourself grace.

“It’s OK to not have answers,” Davis said. “Most of the people around you don’t have answers, and that is just fine.”