Making the Most of Your College Education
Take it from someone who has been there before, getting up for those 8am classes is not easy. Honestly, neither is dragging yourself out of bed for those 12:30 classes, but that’s just cause you’re a Netflix addict. You like school and you are interested in the things you’re learning relevant to your classes, but it all just feels like there will be time in the future to get on the straight and narrow. Real life is so far away, isn’t it? Unfortunately, real life is happening right now, but us college kids don’t get that because we’re barely held responsible for our actions, plus mom and dad are paying our way through the next four years.
You think you have your life together because you have enough money in your checking account to buy your gas and booze for the week, but have you even thought about insurance, car payments, rent, school, food, or any other expenses that don’t currently fall on you? Don’t worry, most college students don’t bat an eye until they’re getting down to the last few months and those bills starting adding up quicker than you can even send in a resume.
If there’s one thing you can do to get ahead during your four years at undergrad, it’s thinking forward. That doesn’t mean you can’t live in the present, have fun with your friends, and do all of the stupid stuff that college kids do, but don’t lose sight of what’s coming upon graduation.
Actually go to class, listen, and try
It sounds kind of obvious but you’d be surprised how you just start to coast through classes once you hit sophomore year. In the beginning you’re excited and want to make the Dean’s List every single semester, but once that high level Macroeconomics class slaps you in the face, game over. Go to every single class unless you’re sick, put your laptop away and actually take notes, and engage with your professors before or after class. Something that some professors might ask you in the beginning of your course is to consider, ‘what is my communication style’. Yes, it’s just another one of those “first day back” exercises, but pay attention to it. By learning something about yourself, you can actually help the professors help you. Do the financial breakdown if you need more motivation, each class you go to is worth a lot more than you would think.
Get early experience
Even if you don’t know what it is you want to do, experience is never a bad thing. One of the biggest things that college graduates lack after graduation is experience in their field. Employers aren’t expecting you to be experts, but an internship or part-time job here and there can really go a long way. Don’t be afraid to push yourself. Sometimes having more things on your plate can help you stay organized and focused. You don’t want to take on too much and burn yourself out, but prioritize! There’s no reason you should leave college without ever working in an office, school, or wherever it is you hope to spend the rest of your career someday.
This is something that everyone takes for granted. Most schools set up some sort of networking event whether it be a job fair, alumni workshop, or local employers just coming to meet you. GO! It sounds so stupid at the time, I know. You’re a freshman finance major, why in the world should you go to a networking event to meet some boss at a mortgage firm this early in your college career? Well, the simple answer is, to make connections. Who knows, that person might just be your dad’s best friend from college and bam you have a summer internship, or maybe you both played the same sport at your respective universities, which could spark a pretty length conversation. Just put yourself out there, there’s never harm in that.