What things should I do before I graduate from college?
May 9, 2007 6:37 PM   Subscribe

I will be graduating in a few weeks from college. Help me find stuff I should do before I'm all done and move away!

I'm not necessarily looking for a generic checklist, like notifying the university that you will be graduating, ordering your cap and gown, etc... That stuff I have under control...

What I'm looking for is little things that I should do now while I still have the resources here at the University.

What are some things you wish you would have done in your final stretch of college that you regret not doing now?

FWIW, I'm a 23 year old male graduating from UWM with a degree in Electrical Engineering.
posted by niwnfyc to Education (21 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
If you have any hobbies or pet projects that might benefit from your student status, pay in advance for them now. I'm thinking of magazine subscriptions, memberships to research websites, etc. You might also consider getting (or renewing) a Student Advantage card. It costs a small sum but it's good for four years and gets you discounts on Amtrak and Greyhound if you're thinking of doing any traveling.

Get packed and ready to leave now so you can party your last week there. I spent my graduation week throwing out all the crap my roommates left behind and it wasn't fun.
posted by backseatpilot at 6:49 PM on May 9, 2007

Go tell your favorite professors how much you appreciate them.
This will make them feel ten feet tall.
Go tell your professors' department heads the same thing.
This will make them feel even taller.
Go tell the nice lady or gentleman at the cafeteria or the barbershop or the news-stand too.
Do this tomorrow.
posted by Dizzy at 6:51 PM on May 9, 2007 [2 favorites]

Sell the crap you don't need. Just get rid of it if you have to. If you make money on it, great, but simplify your post-school life and ditch your crap.

The university library is your friend. The public library is the guy who half-heartedly wants to be your friend but keeps inconvenient hours and doesn't share your interests.

Get a complete checkup while you're on the student health care plan. It's cheap and it gives you a baseline down the road. If you're on drugs, get the longest refill you can at student health care prices.

And of course, send your favorite professors hand-written letters thanking them and promising to keep in touch. Make sure you keep in touch.
posted by infinitewindow at 6:52 PM on May 9, 2007

If you were planning on buying computer equipment or software, do it now while you can get student pricing.

Make sure you still have your student ID. If you end up unemployed for the next few months you'll appreciate still getting in to movies for student prices.

Spend as much time as you can with your friends and make memories that you'll talk about for the next 10 years.
posted by MsMolly at 6:55 PM on May 9, 2007

Take advantage of Student Health Services. Get immunizations.

Also an '07 grad. Woohoo!
posted by fair_game at 6:57 PM on May 9, 2007

Since you are an EE, you should be in IEEE by now! If you aren't, join while still a student so you can can a break on membership your first year out of college. IEEE gets discounts on various things, so look into buying those now. Student discounts in general should be researched a bit as well.

There is the Order of The Engineer ceremony, a long tradition in Canada that's catching on here. Personally I like the idea of engineers having some obvious badge by which to be recognized (you know, when we don't have a pocket to be protected).

posted by phrontist at 7:22 PM on May 9, 2007

If you have a university fitness center that you haven't been using do it now. You can make a lot of progress fitness-wise when you have a few weeks with nothing better to do and a well-equipped, free gym.

If you're still on your parent's insurance, get whatever eye exams/dental checkups/etc. that you may need in the next year or so done now.

MsMolly suggested making sure you keep your student ID, but I would go a step further and get a totally new one made. The IDs at my university is not dated and I plan on milking mine for years into the future. The longer it looks like your picture is recent the longer this will work.
posted by Benjy at 7:27 PM on May 9, 2007

On of the things I meant to do before I graduated, but didn't, was to visit the Legal Services office and have a will drawn up. Seriously.

Also find out what kind of career services you will have available to you after you graduate, and sign up with them. There might be an office where you can have your professors submit letters of recommendation, for your future use in applying to graduate school.
posted by donajo at 7:33 PM on May 9, 2007

Response by poster: @phrontist

I'm glad you mentioned IEEE! I'm currently the vice-president of our university's student chapter, and I'll also be attending The Order of The Engineer next weekend!
posted by niwnfyc at 7:36 PM on May 9, 2007

This list is pretty specific to my university, but you may be able to get some ideas from it.
posted by awesomebrad at 7:49 PM on May 9, 2007

I'm also graduating and one thing I did was get an ISIC card. I'm going travelling after graduation and it'll be nice to have that "student" status. I also just got an eye exam and bought prescription sunglasses (like everyone else on AskMe if you believe the questions lately).

Are there any things that are neat to do in your area that you meant to do? I'm going to go either paragliding or hanggliding at Torrey Pines Gliderport, for example, since I'm a UCSD student.
posted by crinklebat at 7:50 PM on May 9, 2007

In addition to the faculty, tell the staff members that assisted you along the way how thankful you are. Whether it was an academic advisor, an admissions counselor, the director of your dorm, the assistant who allowed you to use her printer to print your final paper, IEEE advisor, etc. University staff hardly ever get thanks from anyone and they deal with a lot of crap. Doesn't have to take long, just drop by and say thanks. I guarantee you it will make their day.

I regret not taking more advantage of the city I was living in. I didn't realize I'd never get the chance to do it the same way again.

And yes, get a few extra IDs if you can. That one is key.
posted by ml98tu at 8:08 PM on May 9, 2007

Get STD tested.
posted by almostmanda at 8:11 PM on May 9, 2007

See if it is possible to keep your .edu email address.
posted by yohko at 8:22 PM on May 9, 2007

Dental care. Start weeding out old stuff - especially papers and textbooks. Extra copies of your transcript.
posted by mdonley at 8:23 PM on May 9, 2007

Party like it's '99? No, seriously...
posted by tmcw at 8:26 PM on May 9, 2007

Many universities have steep software discounts that are worth taking advantage. My school sells new copies of XP and Office (Mac and PC) for $15 each. They are good to have on hand if you want to build your own system and would like to have legal copies of software. More expensive programs like Photoshop will be half price. $300 is expensive, but it is much better than paying $600.

Also, if you have access to free printing, make sure to print out copies of your resume and recent tax returns. File them away in a safe place.

Fill up on cheap prescriptions at student health. Get updated immunizations, especially if they are cheap or free. They are handy if you decide to go somewhere exotic.
posted by Alison at 8:49 PM on May 9, 2007

Get a new ID (i.e. claim you lost yours) so it looks fresher and can be used for many years. That's a tip from my old roommate (wish I had).

Take advantage of everything that will soon be taken away from you, basically. Party it up as much as you can, get every freebie and discount you can squeeze out of people.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:29 PM on May 9, 2007

On the software note- Take the software minicourses that alot of Wisconsin system schools offer for cheap as free nights and weekends, or even in the summer if you can.

I cannot stress this enough.

Of all my friends, the geeks who crammed a quark express, photoshop, dreamweaver and etc class into their last month of college just to get the discount got so many more job offers because they had a couple specific skills that set them apart.

Go into an interview, and follow up anything you say with, "oh yeah, and I can deesign an interactive interface and flash animations to go on a website I'll do about the project." See how that works for you.

But do whatever you can to get yourself aquainted with any state of the art software NOW that might be applicable to your line of work. You probably know most of it being in engineering, so take this time to get a handle on some software that most engineers might not know. Final Cut Pro?

Good luck
posted by conch soup at 7:26 AM on May 10, 2007

Consolidate your student loans. I consolidated mine through the federal government, but since I waited until a few weeks after graduation to do it I lost my six-month repayment grace period. If you consolidate while you are still a student, you'll get to keep it. (YMMV depending on your lender, but it's definitely worth it to make sure.)

Also, nthing getting yourself a shiny new student ID. I've been out of college a year and still get soooo much mileage out of mine.
posted by CtrlAltDelete at 10:07 AM on May 10, 2007

I spent roughly 80% of my last week of college playing wall ball on the soot-dusted roof of our dorm with a bunch of guys from the hall we lived on. The other 20% or so was spent having last beers with good friends and thoughtful smokes with the best ones.

Since college, I've been able to afford, or have been given some top rate vacations - skiing Whistler, Breckenridge, Vail, Tahoe; exploring Athens and the Greek Isles; surfing off the coast of Mexico, etc.. All of these and more with family or good friends.

But nothing will ever compare to that last week of good times with good friends.

(OK, maybe a honeymoon).
posted by allkindsoftime at 6:04 PM on May 10, 2007

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