Big campus, small campus, or anything in between, you will need to become a part of your class and college community. Often I will hear students cease talking about their goals when they discuss the college application process. There is almost a vibe that once they get in, they are set.
Yes – being accepted into college is a huge deal, and we are already proud of you. However, we want you to remember why you are going to college.
Typically, these answers revolve around getting your dream job, and college is just the means to get there. Also, dare I say you are going to college to have fun and meet the people who will remain some of your closest friends?
Often true, too.
College is the place to work hard and enjoy your experiences. This will be your first time living alone and deciding your own study schedules. You will meet people from all different areas, and become fascinated with the different upbringings people have. All of this is much like the workplace.
During this time becomes your exposure to the different walks of life you eventually will work with.
How do you show your future first employer that what you have done has been valuable and meaningful? You become part of your class.
Becoming part of your college class makes your experience more meaningful and fun, but it will also help you land a job. Here are some ways you can do so:
Go to class. Your professors are cluing you in on what they feel is essential and what will be tested. Listen to them! You will be so thankful you did.
Also, stay after class. Talk to your professors further about a topic that made you interested or ponder and question. They will be flattered to know you were genuinely thinking about their lecture. Those conversations may lead to an assistantship or a letter of recommendation – critical if you want a leg up on an employment application. Go to your professor’s office hours. Students rarely show up, and you will receive individual attention from the expert himself.
Do more than just attend college. When you graduate college, your potential employer will want to know what one or two things you did outside of college. Be prepared to have something to discuss. Tutor elementary students, be a mentor, intern, or write for the newspaper. Pick what you’re interested in – this should not feel like a job. You will have the most impact if you are interested in what you choose to do. The sky’s the limit!
Last, talk to your peers in class. College can begin feeling incredibly lonely. Speaking to the person sitting next to you in class will make college feel more welcoming. “How are you?”, “How long did it take you to get the reading done for class?”, “Did you understand what this chapter was about?” People will begin to open up, slowly for some, but most students will open up. Not only could you meet your best friend, but you also are building your network of people for any and all connections we all rely on in life. There is a lot of truth in the old adage; it’s not what you know but who you know.