Readjusting back to campus can be difficult after coming back from abroad, especially because we are facing almost the reality of life. Real life is coming sooner or later and the thought of it may make us anxious and apprehensive, but know that things always do work out in the end.

For the friends who already graduated and left Brandeis, I have been curious to see how their lives turn out to be. One of them told me how much she missed the college community, not so much academics, but the social aspects of it. The first months after college, she decided to take classes at a community college and have a part-time job at a Doctor’s office, but she now found a full-time position in Denmark and is moving there this December.

Another friend found a job in New York City at a tech company, after three months of finding nothing, and she is now moving to the city next month, November. I think it takes time to be able for one to settle and find something, but the world is filled with opportunities out there. It is sometimes a matter of looking beyond what is outside of your bubble and your preconceptions of things you have thought of, but have not dared to venture yet. I am trying this new philosophy of trying at least one new thing every day, regardless of how small or big it can be.

For me, I am applying this first semester of senior year to graduate school and a few fellowships. It has been difficult to take time out to really dedicate time to the applications, since college work also gets in the way and then the jobs and all other responsibilities that come with being in college and even more when you live off campus. However, I am trying to force myself to take the time to actually sit and get them done. It all reminds me of applying for college about four years ago.

Although, throughout college, you will always be applying to other things too, internships, fellowships, scholarships, etc. So let the college application process serve you as a training for what is to come in the near future. It may sound like a mundane thing, but when you apply to different things that you want, you realize—writing the personal statement or cover letter and getting the other materials ready—how much you want that thing, whatever it is. You are able to get your ideas together and brainstorm the many reasons you want that thing to happen to you and how it will affect your life. And also you appreciate the process in retrospective form, because it gives you a sense of accomplishment, regardless of the outcome.

I am not sure what would be the best advice for college seniors, as what I experienced in my senior year of high school was a little bit of “senioritis,” is something that is very much relatable being a senior in college as well. I feel I am still doing a lot, but I also feel that need to spend as much time as possible with my core group of friends. That entails going out to eat, or to a club to experience what that is like, or buying groceries together, or dealing with the off campus housing problems, which never ceases from emerging, or just spending a whole morning in the kitchen dabbling over our coffee and bickering in regards to our complex lives. One of those mornings we promised each other to make the effort to remain connected after this Brandeis journey very much ends. It is possible to find your best in college, it happened to me, and all you have to do is be the most authentic you that you can be. And being authentic can relate to other aspects of your life like, being honest with what you want out of life after college. Those could be big plans or simple plans, but they have to be your plans.

Thus, I would say worry about post-college plans in a proactive way. Making a plan, being honest with yourself, what feels right; what does not. What will make you happy should be on a list. Whatever seems ambiguous or not right, set it aside. Perhaps it is not for you now, maybe later it will or it simply it has never been your thing. Period. Do not go crazy and start applying to everything you can think of. You should be enjoying your last year as a semi-adult before becoming a complete adult. Know that everyone who graduates from college goes through this process, it is a matter of sorting things out and maybe even getting lost for a while before you find your way through the maze that life can often become.

Be sure of your talents, your gifts, your whole self. You are so much more than a title or a position. Simply dare to dream, know you can turn the impossible into possible, believe in yourself and do not doubt. “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams,” Eleanor Roosevelt once said it.

Everything works out in the end, I promise you. If you do not believe me, just look back at your life and tell me this phrase does not apply to a particular circumstance in your life where at first it seemed dubious, but then the gray clouds faded. Clarity replaced it.

Trust the process my friends, whether you are applying to college, grad school, fellowships, internships, jobs, etc. There is something waiting for you out there.

All the best,

Santiago Montoya