Are you ready for graduation?

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Graduation Hat Toss
photo credit: Andalib. via photopin cc

Attention, seniors! If you’re graduating in May, the countdown has begun. We know from experience that you’ve already got a lot on your plate — applying for jobs, reaching out to all your networking contacts, doing your best to stave off senioritis. Unfortunately, this only intensifies as graduation weekend closes in.

Do yourself a favor and get ready for the parties, family gatherings and pre-graduation to-do’s now. Otherwise, you’ll be pulling your hair out trying to squeeze it all in during those first two weeks of May. And you’ve got exams to worry about then.

Apply for graduation: Seems a little obvious, but there’s a reason schools send out the reminder email at least three times — if you forget this step, nothing else matters.

Order graduation announcements: And address them. And send them out. Undoubtedly, your incredibly-proud parents will help get the word out, but don’t leave it up to them to remember every family member, friend and acquaintance you’ve made over the years. It’s a big deal that you’re graduating college; let everyone celebrate with you. A great company for custom graduation announcements is Pear Tree.

Order your class ring: It’s the one piece of school memorabilia that’s acceptable to display in every situation. Class rings are a strong tradition in universities; an immediate bond is formed when you see a total stranger wearing your school’s ring. Don’t miss out on this opportunity.

Sort out all of your paperwork: Jobs and internships need resumes, letters of recommendation and cover letters. Grad schools need GMAT/GRE scores, transcripts and more letters of recommendation. Whether you keep printed copies or you’ve got them stored digitally, it’s a good idea to form some kind of filing system. The last thing that you need is for a school (or job) to call and ask for a transcript, only to have to dig through the ocean of papers in your closet.

Attend your school’s grad fair to order all of your regalia: You’re going to have to purchase that matching cap and gown eventually. Rid yourself of the stress of thinking about the inevitable and just do it.

Follow up with all of your contacts: Regardless of whether or not they know someone who can get you a job, send everyone an email, even if it’s just to say thank you for the help along the way. Trust us: They’ll want to know how you’re doing. They’ll appreciate the thought, and you never know — they could always lead you to that dream job after all.

Visit the career center: Whether you need to brush up on your interviewing skills, polish that resume, or draft a knock-out cover letter, your school’s career center is the place to go. Most universities offer professional-grade services for free. Why not take advantage of this while you still can?

Breathe: Don’t forget to take a few moments for yourself. Catch up with an old friend. Go for an easy jog. Enjoy a movie. Take a long, hot shower. Life will only slow down if you let it.

Diploma FramesOrder your diploma frame: Ah, the most important step (we’re not biased). All of your hard work, sleepless nights and gallons of coffee will be worth it when you hold your diploma in hand. This deserves to be displayed prominently in the office of your first new job. Let it be a constant reminder of some of the best years of your life. Plus, this is the perfect gift to put on your graduation wish list! Find your favorite frame on, and drop a hint by emailing your favorite frame to your parents.

The books, the parties, the LinkedIn stalking, the GMAT/GRE study guides, the constant trips to Starbucks. Keep it up; it’s all going to pay off. Make this May even more special by getting this planning done ahead of time. That way, all of your time can be spent enjoying one of your biggest accomplishments ever.

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