Welcome back badgers!! As we head into the beginning of another year at Brock, I know we all have a lot of things on our minds, especially for first years that are starting a brand new chapter of their lives here. But it’s not just first year students that have a lot of life changes on the horizon. If you’re in fourth year, like me, you might be a little overwhelmed with the possibilities and transitions ahead of you. So let’s dive right in to the top ten things on the mind of fourth years, and my little pearls of wisdom to help lessen the stress you might be feeling.

10. Will I graduate on time?

If you’re questioning that you’ve got all your requirements and averages for graduation in April, make an appointment with an academic advisor and have them go over everything with you to make sure. Even if you’re like me, and like to do as much on your own as possible, remember Brock has these resources for a reason and you should take advantage of them while you can.

9. Surrendering to Senior-itis.

If you’ve got a bad case of Senior-itis and you just want to be done and have a break, I feel you. It’s been an exhausting four years that went by in the blink of an eye, most likely, but now isn’t the time to give up. Give it that one last surge of effort, and chances are you’ll be more proud of yourself than ever before.

8. Grad school choices, upon choices!

Grad school decisions can feel a lot like it felt four years ago when applying to universities for the first time. It’s a stressful time, as your dream school or dream program can feel, yet again, like they’re just a perfect application away. A simple tip is to remember that whatever happens, you gave it your best. Even if your directions or interests or plans have to change from what you expected, change can be fun! Sometimes an unexpected experience is just what you need.

7. Bit by the Travel Bug.

I just got back from a Eurotrip, so I’m certainly one of the many university students who are longing to go somewhere new this year. If you’re thinking about traveling but you’re unsure, here are my words of wisdom: If you have the time and the finances to go, then do it! Those global journeys are a whole new kind of experience, and when better to do it than when you’ve just earned a degree! You deserve it, graduate. But don’t dive in without careful planning. Watch your budget and your time. Just because your friend is going over Christmas break doesn’t mean you can’t wait until July. The world is your oyster and it will be there waiting when you’re ready.

6. How will I pay back my student loans?

This can be a huge stressor for students about to graduate, because OSAP often helped you to survive university financially, but then things are flipped on their head and you have to pay it back. My advice for this one is simple. Go to your bank, and lay out all your options, like repayment assistance or the new Ontario rules, rather than stressing over questions you don’t know the answers to.

5. What will my next job be?

Many of us have student jobs while in school or during the summer, but it often feels like once we graduate we’re thrust into the real world, the adult world, and have to finally find that career. Applying for jobs is difficult, and earning money is important, remember, you don’t have to be a full-time career person right away. If you want a bit of time to yourself to regroup after just finishing four years of university, that is a-okay. You are no less than your peers who got that career position right away, than if you take a part time job first.

4. Moving houses, again.

Students often have to move back home with their parents, or to a new house in the city of their grad school, or even out on their own. This can be a big transition, but try not to stress out too much just yet. You’ve done it before, and you can do it again. And if you get your own place, well, just consider it a new adventure!

3. How will I keep in touch with my Brock friends?

Losing touch with the friends you’ve made over the past four years can be a big worry for graduating students, as everyone embarks on brand new paths and directions. Do your best to keep in touch if that’s what you want, but remember that not every missed text or cancelled plan is personal. When diving head-first into the “real world”, it can be hard to balance everything at first. Your friends are probably just as busy and unsure as you, so try to remember that and keep the positive vibes flowing.

2. Becoming a Badger Alum.

Let’s wrap up this list with two positive thoughts. You’re probably thinking, how did my time at Brock end so quickly? That old cliché, it feels like just yesterday I was a baby badger… probably runs through your head a lot. But being a Badger lasts a lifetime! You can attend alumni events, or schedule your own reunions with your old friends, with great resources for helping to keep in touch. And of course, there’s always homecoming! Just make sure you stock up on your campus store gear before you leave, so you can always wear your Badger heart on your sleeve.

1. Pride!

Finally, if this isn’t the number one thing on your mind, it should be! You’re almost there, Badgers! You’ve worked your hardest for four years — maybe more — and it’s finally coming to an end. Sit back and appreciate everything you’ve learned and all the memories you’ve made, while giving yourself a pat on the back for your efforts. This final push is all that stands between you and your diploma, so give it your all and stand tall on that stage.