Updated: Jun 22, 2020
By: Marq Norris
Here's the tea: freshman year is the best and sophomore year is cute and all, but once you become a junior, it starts to get real. The last two years of college are when you need to be putting yourself out there. We’re talking securing internships, networking with employers, and—most importantly—freshening up your LinkedIn! It’s hard to manage everything at once sometimes, but Talking Dog is ready to spill the secrets of success! Which ironically leads us to our first tip:
1. UNPOPULAR OPINION: GPA Isn’t Everything
Okay, I know! Hear me out…
As students, GPA is important to maintain for financial aid, scholarships, and the like. However, unless you’re going to school after achieving your degree, your grades are allowed a little leisure. If your goal is to enter the workforce immediately after graduation, you should work towards making yourself more employable and known in your desired industry. Now, this isn’t to say that grades aren’t important! You should constantly apply yourself in the classroom and push yourself to exceed standards, but if you made me choose between attending a lunch with a valuable network connection or going to a regular day of class…
Me on my way to secure the bag
High school success was defined by what you know, but college success is defined by who you know. Which leads us to our next tip:
2. NET—and I can’t stress it enough—WORK
Getting a job after college is the goal, and the bigger your network, the easier that becomes. Fortunately, there are countless networking opportunities for you to take advantage of as a student. From alumni to professors, there’s a sea of industry professionals to meet that can get you to where you want to be. Connect on LinkedIn, attend office hours, and attend university-hosted networking events. Utilize as many resources that the school offers to advance yourself. After all, you did pay for it.
3. There’s No Such Thing As Too Many Questions
Inquisition is a sign of investment. By asking good questions, not only are you getting answers that’ll help you advance, but you’re helping people remember who you are. Before any panel or information session, compile a list of questions that you want to ask. Think of the things that you’re passionate about. Do you want to learn more about the diversity initiatives that the company is looking to pursue? Are you wondering about the Corporate Social Responsibility programs that they’re looking to initiate? How about what growth looks like in the company? Make the effort to ask thoughtful questions that can’t be answered with simple research. Recruiters are paid to find talent who have the confidence to stand out and ask the questions that need to be asked, so be just that.
4. Get Involved!
Getting involved on campus is one of the best ways to build your resume and network before graduating. Campus organizations can be a great outlet to invest time in your passions while pursuing your education. Join an organization as a general body member and feel it out. If you grow to like it, ask executive board members if you can pick their brains about their roles and responsibilities. If you find a role that interests you, consider applying for an executive board position. Whether it be social media, logistics, or event planning, it’s great resume experience that produces tangible results and offers memorable leadership experience that employers love to see. Holding an executive board position shows that you’re able to work on a team, facilitate meetings, and complete tasks.
5. Self-love is the Best Love
Prioritize giving yourself a day to recover at least once a week. Clean your room, do a face mask, and eat your favorite meal. Engage in your favorite hobbies and do what YOU want to do. Give your mind and body a reset, and give yourself the attention you deserve. We need to prioritize the time to love ourselves just as much as we do work or school. Don’t forget to catch up with your friends. Nourishing your social life is a form of self-love too.
Remember that college is an experience to be taken a day at a time. Take this time to figure yourself out and develop your interests, dreams, and skills.We find who we are in college, so don’t focus entirely on academia.