Entering your final year of college is both an exciting and nerve-wracking time. You’re closing one chapter and starting a whole new one.
While you're in the final rush of knocking out your degree and crushing your finals, it might be hard to imagine fitting anything else in your schedule, but it's necessary so you don't spend months flailing around trying to piece your new adult life together.
Before you finish your final year of college, here are some great tips to make sure you kick off this new chapter of your life on solid ground:
Get a grip on your student loans
If you don’t know how much you owe in total, now is the time to sit down and figure out how much you owe in student loan debt. If you have the ability to stop into your Financial Aid office, they can help you track down all of your student loans.
Otherwise, you will have to use websites to track down your student loans and make sure you have all of them written down.
The key thing you will want to make a note of is how long you have until you need to start paying on your loans. Traditionally, you’ll have a six-month grace period, but always double-check. You’ll want to take the time to also understand how things like deferments, forbearances, and so on work just in case you need them. Always stay ahead of payments and paperwork because you don’t want to start getting behind on payments.
Get your foot in the door for internships
Internships can be the best way to get your foot in at a dream company. Inside the MSTRPLN academic planner, there is a page for you to track all of your internships. However, just make sure you're applying to as many as you can in your dream industries.
College is the time to take advantage of the abundant amount of internships available that will be much harder to access after you graduate.
This is also the ideal time to reach out to people you want to meet or ask to get coffee with people in a potential industry you want to work in. Although a lot of people don’t like cold emails, they’re open to helping college students find their footing, so use it to your advantage to meet new people.
Even if you know exactly what you want to do work-wise after graduation, think about talking to people in other industries that you have a slight interest in, just to see what it's like.
Take advantage of compounding time
Mentioning taking advantage of your college time, if you’re still young, now is the ideal time to learn about how to start to build a retirement plan. Starting in your early 20’s versus your early 30’s can give you hundreds of thousands of dollars in retirement money later on.
You might think it’s best to think about all that stuff “later” and focus on only having fun now, here at MSTRPLN we believe you can do both. You can get some new workout shoes and also open your first Roth IRA. Balance is key!
While this is the era where you can make mistakes and still have plenty of time to recover from them, it’s also the prime time to build the solid habits that will carry you into adulthood.
Set up your first budget
We have a few other blogs on setting up a budget, but the main thing to know is that setting up a budget now will do wonders for your post-college life.
Budgeting doesn't have to be this painful process that you cringe at every month, you can make it a fun process where you're able to fit in everything that matters most in your life.
When people graduate, they usually go all-out on spending money to set them up for their new careers, but this can put you deeply in debt. Instead, be sure to set up a budget so you don't fall into bad habits as you enter your new phase of life.