Things You Should Do Before Graduating College
In college you make new friends, go to parties, and dream of making bank in your ideal career. As a recent college graduate myself, I know that you certainly do not want to look back and wish you had done something different in the pursuit of fulfilling your college life; that is a curse!
My goal is to help you get the most out of college and live through it with a little less stress and regret. Here is some advice of things you should do before you graduate that I have received from others who have experienced college before me, including counselors and teachers, and acquired from my own experiences.
First, get involved.
This is the most repeated advice you will receive, but even so, it is not stressed enough.
• Make friends within your department. You will be in classes with these people for the next few years of your life after all. A professor once told me that more often than not, the people you meet in your college classes are likely to become your lifelong friends.
• Join a club. Whether it is a fraternity, sorority, or one of special interest, look into student organizations and attend the meetings. Do not be afraid to branch out from your department, explore new interests, and try new activities. You can develop stronger interpersonal skills, which is valuable for businesses and friends alike.
Second, seek professional experiences.
Do not allow your classes to consume your time. If making a living is a major concern, understand that businesses look for candidates that demonstrate experience and responsibility.
• Get a part-time job. Research opportunities in your desired field or attain temporary positions in retail and customer service. No matter how many people trash talk McDonalds or Starbucks, retail and customer service is still experience!
• Attend a job fair. Your school may host one every year or every semester. Go so you can submit a resume or ask questions. In job fairs, you can learn to effectively communicate with professionals.
• Do an internship. Visit your on-campus career center; there will be lists of opportunities advertised through your school. Set up an appointment with a counselor to get help in the research or application processes, including résumé and cover letter reviews, and mock interviews.
• Confide in your professors and peers. People are often too timid to talk to professors regarding their goals and too defensive to share their ideas with peers. Understand that your professors are professionals themselves and can guide you toward the best direction. Talking to your peers is also helpful. You can bounce ideas back and forth. A different perspective can potentially inspire and motivate you.
Third, study abroad.
Studying abroad is one of the most innovative and liberating ways of learning. There are semester- and year-long programs and even short-term programs for only a few weeks over the summer or winter. You can see how a foreign classroom operates and experience different culture. Most importantly, you learn about yourself. In fact, some of the most valuable lessons happen outside of the classroom. Research programs early because studying abroad requires careful planning.
Last but not least, explore the city of your school
With the popularity and reliability of Yelp, it should be easy to find restaurants, bars, shopping, and other activities in the city. With all the stress you already have with classes and heavy thoughts on securing a life after college, exploring the city can remind you to live in the moment.
You can worry about your next paper and plan your future, as you should, but you should not let life and opportunities pass you. Remember, there are ways to make that journey through college more worthwhile.
About Chantal Lozano