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 also going to college to have fun and meet the people that will remain some of your closest friends? Often true, too.
College is the place to work hard, and yes, 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.
This time then becomes your exposure to the different walks of life you eventually will work with. How do you show your future, first employer, what you have done has been valuable and important? You become part of your class.
Becoming part of your college class not only makes your experience more meaningful and fun, it will also help you land a job. Here are some ways you can do so:
Go to class. You will be so thankful you did. Your professors are cluing you in on what they feel is important and what will be tested. Listen to them!
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 then 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, write for the newspaper. Pick what you’re interested in – this should not feel like a job. If you are interested in what you choose to do, you will have the most impact. The sky’s the limit!
Last, talk to your peers in class. College can begin feeling incredibly lonely. Talking 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, 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: it is not what you know, but who you know.