Graduating seems very daunting, especially considering the fact that for the past four years, you’ve been secluded to a single campus.

I like to think of the University of Rhode Island as a singular town that we all live in. Housing, food and entertainment can all be found here. During my freshman and sophomore year, I didn’t have a car, and I remember not even leaving the campus for weeks at a time. After living off-campus, I’ve gained a sense of what it would be like to live on my own and what true “adulting” entails. I drive myself to school, cook meals, and am responsible for cleaning and paying for my beach house. However, I still can’t grasp what it will be like when college is over.

For the past 16 years, I’ve been attending school. What will happen when there’s no more classes, homework assignments or projects? I won’t have to worry about my GPA or passing a final exam for the first time. Summer, winter and spring breaks will be forgotten. It’ll be a relief for sure, but then on the other hand, there are so many responsibilities that come with a job and essentially “growing up.”

So, how do we transition? Is it possible to easily get a diploma, get a job and not look back? It could be, but it might be the most stressful thing you’ll ever have to do in your life.

As my final semester of college is steadily approaching, I’ve been considering the most vital things that my future now entails. For starters, money is something that I already know will consume my mind. There’s bills, student loans, groceries, gas and everything in between. Then, there’s the issue of housing. Unlike college, it’s a little harder to find an apartment so easily. I’ll have to decide where I want to live, if I’ll have roommates and if rent is affordable. Oh and of course, the one crucial thing we’re all scared about is getting a job right out of college. Will it be the right fit, will I be doing what I actually want to do or in the same field I received my degree in?

Thinking about all of these necessities are a little overwhelming and usually when I bring it up with my friends, they decline to even talk about it, as if leaving college is the worst thing that could possibly happen. Contrary to popular belief, I’m actually extremely excited to get a job and actually get out into the world. So far, I feel like I’ve been learning and building up my credentials in college, and now it’s time to actually put my knowledge to use.

I can’t say for sure, but I believe that the transition will be less scary if you follow some of these steps. First, I would suggest that first semester seniors start planning out what goals they have for the future. What would your dream job be? Then, make a list of all the jobs that come close or are relatively similar to your dream job. Get a resume fixed up, and apply to all of the places you can think of before graduating. That way, you’ll have something lined up beforehand.

Along with job goals, make a list of overall things you hope to accomplish in the future. Do you want a specific dream house or an expensive new car? Do you want to be the first female President, go to the moon or be the world’s most renowned scientist? As said in “Back to the Future,” “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.”

Scoring a successful job and saving money are two things that are important to keep in mind, along with mapping out where you want to go in life. However, most of all, it’s important to put to use what you’ve learned while here. Throughout the past four years, I’ve learned how to properly write a formatted news article, interview people and edit papers, which I know will be meaningful for my career, but I’ve also learned a lot more than just facts in college.

I’ve learned how to make friends and how to lose a few bad ones. I’ve strived to be creative and unique. I’ve learned how to work in a team, yet do things on my own. I’ve pitched my ideas and been knocked down a few times, but I’ve always pursued things I believed in. I’ve made mistakes and done things I shouldn’t have, and I’ve also had some proud moments at this school. But most of all, I’ve learned how to be myself — and honestly, I think that’s the best way to succeed in life.