Tuesday, October 15, 2013

So You're Going to College... (Things I Wish I Knew, Did, or Learned in College)


Today, we're switching away from my usual topics to talk college for a few. Last week, a friend of mine who is applying to colleges asked me what I majored in and what my career was. She follows the blog and shares a lot of the same interests, so she wanted to get insight as to what I did throughout my college career. Through our conversation, I thought about all the things I would've done differently had I started college at 22 as opposed to 18. And then I quickly realized there were so many things I wish I had known when starting college and things that I know now that I wanted to share.

Intern, Intern, Intern.
Internships could quite possibly be the most important thing of your entire college career. Luckily, I did have one internship my senior year of college that I both loved and still find valuable to my current job, but if I could do it over again, I would start interning from the very beginning, which leads me to the next thing.

Make Connections!
Internships can help you make those connections. Join clubs, attend job fairs, etc. Follow up with the people you meet. Keep your resume updated, and you'll attract someone's eye! Those very people could end up offering you a job after you graduate or connecting you with someone else who can. My job was through a personal connection (a huge thank you!!). My boyfriend received an interview which landed him his current job thanks to being involved in a club solely for his major. This is such an important aspect of college and job searching!

It's not what you know, it's who you know.
How many times have you heard this? It is absolutely true -- we're going back to those connections  you're going to make. Though I greatly treasure my English degree, let's be honest: it does not help me minute by minute at my job. Don't get me wrong -- I can be the grammar police at times, and it has also been very beneficial for promptly writing articles for work. The biggest thing, though, is that my degree represents the fact that I went to college and accomplished the goal of graduating. So, get out there and meet new people! 

Follow your gut!
I changed my major twice. I started in interior design, switched to English and Education, and dropped the Education to just do English. (Why did I drop interior design, again?)
It is so easy to get caught up in what your advisers, family, and peers think you should do. So many were convinced that I should be a teacher -- voila! That's where the English degree came from. After a year in the program, I knew that career path was not for me. So I switched. Even still, I would have switched to something completely different had I had the time, but I didn't. (It's okay though, the English degree is proudly displayed on my office wall.)

Try something new.
One thing I did do that I am thankful I did was take random classes that did not pertain to my major. One thing I was largely interested in was politics, so I took a political science class, ended up loving both the class and the teacher, and took another one a couple of years later. Though I didn't end up majoring or minoring in political science, I do value the information I took from it (especially because I took a poli-sci class in an election year!). Who knows, you might really love something new that you try, which could lead to a major and/or career path.

Study Abroad.
I did not study abroad -- huge regret! The timing just never really worked out for me, but I really hate that. I went to Europe for 2 weeks between my junior and senior year of college, but I really wish I had been able to spend more time traveling and learning in another country (or countries!)

There's nothing wrong with an all-nighter (for studying ;) ).
Staying up late to study was not a regularity in my college experience -- but there might have been a time or two. But what do I remember most about staying up late in the library with my friends? Being in the library late with my friends.

Enjoy Every Aspect.
Anyone could tell you that those are the fastest four years! I can remember freshman move-in day like it was yesterday. I can't tell you how many times my friends and I group-text about how much we miss college and about all of our "post-grad" problems. Yes, those are real, folks. Study hard, absolutely, but enjoy every aspect possible with your friends because those years are irreplaceable. 

College is hard. College is fun. College is an incredible experience. Though I am perfectly content without the homework and studying, I'd go back in a heartbeat. Enjoy!

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