Senior year has approached so quickly! My first real memory at Winona State University is sitting outside Sheehan with my floor and RA and being introduced to college life. This memory happened over three years ago; time passes by way too fast.

Senior year can be a challenge because in addition to completing the 400-level courses within your major, planning out additional schooling has to be done simultaneously.

Graduate school applications are terrifying. The first step is always to research the school and the program. For me, I’m researching for an exercise physiology masters program and I’m looking into the University of Minnesota and University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. I’m not sure which one appeals to me more, but I do have time to make a decision.

If Minnesota winters are torture for you, researching schools in Florida, Arizona and California might be a great option. Personally, I couldn’t live without snow so I’m sticking to schools nearby me. Once you find the school that fits you, look at the application requirements.

This is kind of obvious, but if you’re going to take the GRE or any graduate school test, find out which tests you need to take. Basically, the GRE is a very advanced ACT to a certain extent. The GRE is very expensive – it’s equivalent to about a month of rent!

There are subject GRE’s like biology, physics and psychology. Figuring out what to study for and what test to take is the key to success for completing the applications.

While preparing for the GRE, it’s completely possible to have a super fun, jam-packed, awesome last year in the small town of Winona, Minn. Here’s a mini checklist of places to see and activities to do before graduation.

  1. Climb Sugarloaf – it’s okay to climb it again, and again! The view is definitely worth the hike.
  2. Visit the Blue Heron Coffeehouse and purchase a book to read all day.
  3. Go to all the home football games and root for the Warriors one last time. Don’t forget about the other sports such as basketball, baseball, volleyball and soccer! Check out the athletics schedule and map out your game plan (pun intended).
  4. Shop at thrift stores. Winona has various thrift stores where you can save money and get cheap stuff for the year.
  5. Have a bonfire across the lake the week before you graduate.

Unfortunately, due to being undecided with my major in college, I will have to stay another year at Winona State. I really would love to graduate on time, but it’s not in the cards. I’m on the five-year plan and by this time next year I will be a super senior.

As much as I’m disappointed in not graduating on time, I get to enjoy Winona State a little bit longer!