So happy to be back here again sharing you some insight on my college days. One reader asked for me to post about the topic “what I wish that I did my freshman year.” I honestly had to spend some time brainstorming this one and going back to my freshman year days and reflecting. One thing that I stand true in my life is to live a life with no regrets. Sure, everyone says that but this was something that I really focused on in college. As everyone tells you, college really is the best four years of your life. When I was in college I had so many highs and many lows. I’m saying this right now, college ain’t easy and if it is easy you aren’t doing it right. College is a time where you should challenge yourself and go outside your comfort zone. College is where you can explore different routes in life yet deepening your relationship with yourself and those around you. My freshman year honestly was one of my best year in college. I am going to write a post in mid august (hold me to it) about what the 2 weeks of my life were like leading up to college. As a girl with no siblings, I became very familiar with being comfortable with living on my own and doing my own thing. This was something that definitely challenged me especially my first month of school. But now that I type this I’m not completely sure if the word challenge is correct. For some reason when I got to school I honestly felt like I was at summer camp. (Did anyone else feel that way too or am I just crazy?) Everyone is in the same boat as you and you instantly want to make friends and I held myself accountable to be my outgoing self and introduce myself to everyone. The first two months at college I probably said yes to every invitation that came my way. I really got involved in my business school because I know how important it is to create a name for yourself and network from day one. I went to many events whether they were on and off campus and I am very happy that I did that. Getting involved in your major (even if you are undecided) is a way to grow your network. I was very fortunate to live in a dorm that had a community vibe. I made sure everyone knew my name and who I was (in a good way) and opened my door to everyone. One tip of advice is when you are hanging out on your bed stalking all your high school friends / classmates on Facebook (trust me you will do it) open your door and keep it open. I can’t tell you how many people I met that way. When someone walked by in the hall I would make eye contact with them and it forced me to say hi and bring up a conversation with many. Sure you won’t talk to everyone but people will see you and know who you are (if you smile).
Now getting on to the things I wish I did…
One, I really wish I did more community service. I can’t tell you how many clubs I signed up for that were major related but not necessarily “community related”. I would always participate in Relay for Life or different events that would raise money for charity but I never felt fully fulfilled by that. As you go on in your school years it kind of gets more difficult for you to get super involved. That is obviously not the case for everyone but once I got older I became more occupied with business clubs, focusing more on my grades, getting an internship, building my resume, you name it. So my tip of advice is going to the club fair that is at the beginning of the year and write your name / email on every list that interests you. They will send out a welcome email to join the first meeting session and thats when you can decide if those are the clubs you want to join. It is better to have that power all in your hands.
Second, take a deep breath and know that grades aren’t everything. I really stressed about my grades my entire college years and I can now say that was a good thing and a bad thing. Sure college prepares you to get a great job out of college and if you want a great job you have to have a high GPA. That is 100% the case but again it is important to be a well rounded individual and that includes building experiences in and out of the classroom. I have to say that it is so important to focus right away on your studies because it is a lot easier to maintain a high GPA through out your years than during junior/senior year really work to bump up that GPA. Side note, spring semester during finals is really hard to concentrate because the weather starts getting nicer and you are excited to go home for 3 months. With that being said, fall is the time where you have the opportunity to really shine academically.
Third, meet with your guidance counselor (I think thats what they are called?) or academic planner every semester in addition to the bi-annual required meetings. It is crucial you properly plan out your schedule and double/triple check you are on track to graduate on time. These individuals can also be a massive help in landing an internship or job after college. Like I mentioned a million times, it is really important to get your name out there and start networking even when you are young. I guarantee you are going to say “yeah I don’t have to do that now… I don’t need an internship until junior year” but please take my advice and start planning early! Another great resource is career services and start planning out your resume, cover letter, etc. When you join these extracurricular clubs you have no idea who you will run into and you will find people that say please pass along your resume. When someone says that to you, you do it right away. Nothing is more embarrassing than not having a resume when someone is offering their hand for assistance.
Lastly, HAVE FUN. College like I said before is the best four years of your life. Build those relationships with the people you meet, go outside your comfort zone, but most important stay and be you! You are just going to become a better version of yourself the day you walk across the stage at graduation.
Stay tuned to episode 3 next week!