So I’ve done my share of freaking out since the first day here at college, and most of the time I am overreacting. (Many of those breakdowns involved watermarks on production, which are totally legit concerns though.) As I’m entering the final month of my undergraduate career, I’m realizing a lot of these frustrations could have maybe been avoided if I’d prepared. So for those of you just getting into undergrad in the fall, you might want to pay attention to these tips.
Internships are amazing
So technically, I did two internships. One, however, was not for credit, and it did not last very long because it was a sketchy setup. My internship for credit was wonderful. I loved everything I got to do, and it was great experience for both my resume and for me professionally and personally. You should probably do one each year. At least, start your sophomore year or the summer after freshman year because they really are a great way to boost your resume. Also, make sure that you have a variety of internships. Really, I only have internship experience in magazine writing because no one really pays attention to that first internship (Seriously, it was that sketchy). I should have gotten some experience in writing, some in editing, some in visual production, and definitely some in marketing. (I may be a self taught expert on marketing for movies, but it’s a little scary going into 4 marketing interviews with no professional experience.) Just trust me on this one. Plus, it’s the opportunity to get out of a classroom for credit, and sometimes, if you are really lucky, they’ll even pay you. I was not so lucky….
Take part in extracurriculars
I did this all throughout high school. I was Little Miss Club for Everything. Then I got to college and took part in zero until I was forced to join Commuter Council my junior year. It’s fun and everything but I should have taken advantage of the student publications and the public relations club because those could help me in real life. Your college will probably have a club for just about every niche, too. We’ve got a social work society, a psychology club, and there’s probably one for every major that I just don’t know about. It’s a great way to network and to get to know the people you’ll be hanging out with in class. It took me a while to make friends in my majors, but maybe if I would’ve joined, then I would’ve had friends from the very beginning.
Actually try to remember stuff after the final
Okay, I know this is going to be really hard with all the stuff you have to cram up there, but trust me. There are skills you will learn that will actually help you later on. Right now, I’m fulfilling the senior requisite of conducting my own research. The surveys are done, and the data is coded. Then I went to analyze it and stared at the screen because I cannot remember a single thing from Quantitative Social Research. I remember how to use the program, but what I have to do to make some sense of my data is beyond me. Here’s hoping it’ll all come back in the next week or so….
Or keep your books
This one sounds really dumb, too. I know. You could get money for them or credit towards your next textbook purchase, and those things are pretty darn expensive. Sometimes, you just have to weigh the benefits of $5 versus if you’ll use it as a refresher for a class later on. I would kill to have my Classical Sociological Theory book or my Quantitative Methods book back. (Dear Mr. George Ritzer, If you are reading this, I’d really appreciate the classical theory textbook. I actually understand what they are saying when you write. Thank you.) I would now be able to go back and see what the different SPSS tests mean and what Durkheim said about suicide (Okay, I know that one). But seriously, the $5 isn’t worth it. I may have spent it on cute clothes, but I’m really regretting that now. I know a few books from this semester I’ll be keeping.
Don’t text and learn
I’m just as at fault about texting during class as anyone else, and seriously, in some classes, it’s okay. I’ve only recently figured out how annoying it is to other students though. Here’s the key. If you have desks on top of each other, then Facebooking and texting is really annoying to the other person–especially if the class is small and no one else is doing it. I’ve found myself paying more attention to the pictures someone is looking at in front of me than to the lecture because it’s distracting. If you are going to do it, sit in the back of the class; be sure it’s a large class; don’t be sitting on top of anyone. Just learn. It’s what you are paying that ridiculous amount of money for after all. Trust me, when the payments come in, you wish you would have actually taken advantage of being in class.
There’s a few other things I would suggest like taking advantage of possibly the only time you’ll have free gym access or use all your printing quota but be smart, but I’m going to let you make a few mistakes and learn on your own. Live it up during college early on. You’ll get to your final semester and wish you’d done a lot of things. Plus, you won’t get that opportunity afterwards.