University Career Center

For Seniors Only: The Future Awaits

Each Monday we'll be sharing 'For Seniors Only,' a series of guest posts for U of M students in their final year of college. Today's post comes from Nikil Ramanathan, a senior pursuing his Bachelor of Arts in Economics.

As a senior, I can say that it’s the number one question we are asked whether it’s by friends, family or strangers. “Oh, you’re a senior?! What are you doing after college?” For some people, the answer to that question is simple – they know exactly where they want to go and how to get there. But for the vast majority of us, the answer is not quite so easy. It feels like just yesterday I stepped foot onto this campus. And now all of a sudden, I have less than a year to go with the future awaiting and the clock ticking.

Our post-grad decision is perhaps one of the biggest decisions we will make in our lifetime. But don’t let that scare you. You should embrace it. Remember, just over three years ago, we all had to make the life-changing decision to attend the University of Michigan. For some of us, it was easy – it was the school we always dreamed of attending. For others, it was a decision that came down to the last second. But either way, we evaluated ourselves, our options and made a choice that we felt was calculated, logical and gave us the best opportunity to succeed. It’s that time again.

The first step is a self-reflection and self-evaluation period. What do we want to do after college? There are many options, but which option will really provide us with the career we desire? It’s time to look at the skills and experiences you’ve had over the last three years. Many of us have worked at various companies for brief stints. Did we enjoy our time there? Can we envision ourselves in that environment and that industry for 2 or 3 years? All of us have taken a wide breadth of classes here at the University of Michigan. What skills have we fostered in these classes and what skills do we feel exemplify who we are? These are the skills we want to illustrate and highlight to employers and these are likely the skills we desire in our next job.

Once we can determine what makes us successful and what things we are good at, we can see more clearly what jobs will be a strong fit for us. It’s very similar to how we chose our college and even our major. We have to find our passions. For me personally, it was certainly a process. I knew I enjoyed analytical and quantitative work as I got experience with that type of work through my Economics degree. But I wasn’t sure what industry I really wanted to pursue. Finance, consulting and marketing all appealed to me. But once I evaluated my previous internships and experiences and broke them down, I realized my finance experiences gave me the greatest ownership and passion. Now it is just about finding the job.

So what’s the next step now that we’ve figured out the answer to what we want to do? Making sure we have an answer to the even more important question I proposed earlier: what are you doing after college? Now it’s about networking with companies in the industry you’ve determined best suits you and finding that perfect match. Finding a job isn’t easy, but there are ways to make the process less stressful and potentially more successful. The best choice is to approach these companies and employers and what better way to do that than the career fair? The career fair gives you a first-hand chance to meet the company, understand their industry and determine whether you are the right match for them and more importantly if they are the right match for you.

Just as fast as we became seniors, graduation will come and go. The clock is ticking seniors. Let’s go find our answer.