June 2018

For many students senior year is a unique part of their college journey. It’s often filled with accomplishments, unknowns and life transitions. We asked a few newly graduated seniors to give some advice to the next graduating class.

Mirna Serrano Barahona

Mirna Serrano Barahona ’18
St. Catherine University

Extracurriculars: Assistantship Mentoring Program mentee, co-chair of the Minnesota Association of Private College Students, Minnesota Office of Higher Education student advisor and Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board member.

“Senior year was different than other parts of college because you finally begin to see the end of the tunnel of your undergraduate education. You begin to envision yourself in the world. The important part is to see yourself doing what you love and don’t fear that possibility.”

“Senior year I learned not to limit myself — be open to new opportunities. If you say yes to something that doesn’t work out, that’s okay.”

“Don’t lose your grit. Remind yourself why you decided to go to college in the first place. What motivates you? Who do you want to impact when you leave? Use those responses as a daily reminder.”

“I wish I would have known how much goes into graduating. There are job applications that need to be filled out, assignments that are due and living arrangements that need to be made. I would recommend creating a timeline. Stay organized so you’re not trying to complete tasks last minute.”

Kevin Xiong

Kevin Xiong ’18
Macalester College

Extracurriculars: Phillips Scholar, college-access issue area coordinator at Macalester, former teaching fellow at Breakthrough Twin Cities and Macalester’s Summer Live It Fund recipient.

“One of the most important things I learned during my senior year is to live within the moment. The past three years of college have gone by so fast. Live in the moment with your friends and mentors. It is one of the few opportunities where you get a close community of friends that you get to see almost every day.”

“Prepare for what’s after graduation. If you are planning to go straight into graduate school, begin that process. Are you studying for the GRE? How are you researching schools and programs? If you are thinking about working, find job options and a place to live.”

“It’s never too early to plan ahead. Some scholarships such as Fulbright and Watsons have early deadlines. If you plan to apply for these, make sure to reach out to your campus advisor and start your application.”

Sterling Harer

Sterling Harer ’18
Bethel University

Extracurriculars: Executive chair of Bethel’s student senate, intern at the Minnesota Senate, advisory board member of the Minnesota Association of Private College Students and Bethel Welcome Week leader.

“I learned to accept whatever comes up. In college, I have struggled with things and gone through difficult circumstances, but I have learned how to handle whatever happens and still be able to balance school, work and classes.”

“I would encourage them to stay engaged with school and be involved on campus. I think many seniors ‘check out’ but you can invest in younger students and still give back to the community.”

“I wish I would have had deeper relationships with faculty members. By spending time with a professor outside of the classroom, you develop a very special relationship that allows them to mentor you and set you up for success after college.”

“I also would have mentored freshmen and given them advice on what to do in college and help them as they maneuver through a new stage of life.”

By Tom Lancaster