By: Alex Steele
People say that your four years of college will be the best of your life (five years for some, nothing wrong with taking a victory lap). But why do the experiences and connections we make in college have to stop after those four, or five, years? What you do in college—your involvement, experience and connections— will determine your success in the real world. So make those things a habit while you are in school, and you will be setting yourself up for success down the road.
In the PR world sometimes it is more about who you know rather than what you know. College is the perfect place to make those life-long connections. You never know who the person sitting next to you on the bus or in line at Tate could be one day. Make sure to make connections and get to know the people around you, and that includes your professors. Your professors may just seem like the people who grade your papers, but they also have an extensive network of their own, including industry professionals that you may want to meet. Also, you never know when you may need a good recommendation letter. Everyday should be treated like a networking event and a chance to cultivate meaningful relationships with your peers.
Get involved on campus in something other than just your classes. Join a club or an organization and get involved. Campus organizations are fun and look great on a resume, plus you can learn real world skills by joining committees or holding leadership positions. Also, don’t be afraid to do something that may not be directly related to what you want to do. While professional organizations can help a lot for the field you want to go into, other organizations can add an edge to your skills and help you get involved with other causes that you are passionate about. And it’s just one more good way to get to know your peers and forge those meaningful relationships.
Use your time outside of school to help your future. In college, summer is no longer just summer…it’s another semester. Use your time to take extra classes, volunteer, study abroad, get an internship or even a job where you will develop skills that you’ll need in the workforce after graduation. Gaining real world experience, and being able to show a potential employer that you’ve been active and not just attending classes for four years will go a long way. Everything you do in college is preparing you for your future. So treat every semester as a new opportunity.
When you’re a freshman, four years may seem like forever. But trust me, it goes by quicker than you expect. Don’t waste a single moment of your time in college. Strive to make each of your four (or five) years the foundation of your bright future.