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Finishing Strong: Seniors at UNG

Finishing+Strong%3A+Seniors+at+UNG
Bruce Clark

Many problems arise for University of North Georgia seniors that hinder their ability to dig into their coursework. Entering the workforce, applying for graduation, senioritis and more can affect students’ focus, possibly hurting their final academic year.

Brandon Waterfill, a senior communications major, sympathized with these challenges. “The biggest challenge [for me] has just been the mental shift from knowing you will still be in school to the unknown of having to find a job and getting to know a new workplace.”

Waterfill said that another challenge for new seniors is rushing through their final semester without taking in the sights. “These
scenes and ideas of graduating seemed like something that would never come, but it flies by way too quickly.”

Meredith Higgins, Associate Director for the Office of Student Retention and Success, expressed hope for UNG’s seniors in the face of these challenges.

“I hope our seniors know how proud the faculty and staff are of them in making it to this point in their college career.” – Meredith Higgins, associate director for the Office of Student Retention and Success

She suggested two ways seniors can prepare for their final collegiate year: thinking ahead and utilizing campus resources.

As soon as the fall semester starts, students should begin thinking about which instructors they want to get letters of recommendation from and start applying to graduate school if they plan to go.

Higgins noted that seniors who have built good relationships with faculty and staff will have an easier time getting letters of recommendation for their careers.

In addition, Higgins suggested that students should begin applying for jobs in their chosen field in the spring if they wish to enter directly into the workforce.

As for campus resources, Higgins specifically mentioned the Office of Career Services, which she called “an absolute gem of a resource.” She said the office can help students build a resume, prepare for grad school and get ready for job interviews.

According to Higgins, the biggest hurdle facing seniors is procrastination. The best way to combat this, she said, is to carve out time daily or weekly to prepare for post-college life. She also recommended seniors use a visual aid such as a planner to help them remain grounded and goal-oriented.

When she was in college, for example, Higgins used Sunday afternoons to work on her grad school applications, letter of recommendation requests and more.

She said that her biggest hope for UNG’s seniors is that they see the value of the education they learned throughout their time here. Specifically, she hoped they could see measurable growth in themselves from their first semester to their last.

Higgins encouraged seniors to “keep doing what they’ve done before,” adding that the students who made it this far had a process that worked for them.

“I hope our seniors are encouraged in knowing that their time and effort at UNG is a testament to their tenacity and resilience… an investment which never loses its value. One’s education cannot be taken away, only built upon, and with formal knowledge comes experiences and lessons which will open countless doors of opportunity.” – Meredith Higgins, associate director for the Office of Student Retention and Success

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About the Contributor
Bruce Clark, Staff Writer

My name is Bruce Clark, and I am a staff writer and editor for the Vanguard. I attend UNG Gainesville and will graduate with my Bachelor's in Communications with a focus in Multimedia Journalism in 2025. I write about events, academic programs, and a handful of other miscellaneous topics.

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