by Gabi Bourn
Production Manager at Wunderman
Students, you probably just paid thousands of dollars for this semester of college. You are being pressured to do well in classes, join student organizations, attend recruiting events, work a part-time job, and have fun with your friends. While you probably recognize the importance of each of these things, you may not know how to prioritize so you can do all of them well. Here are some tricks on how to prioritize and how to know what events are worth attending.
Many methods exist for staying organized – digital calendars, paper planners, Trello, OneNote, etc. It does not matter what method you choose as long as you proactively use one. Having all your assignment due dates, club meetings, and personal activities in one place will help you manage your time wisely.
Bonus tip – Keeping your calendar color-coded will help capture the big-picture view of how much time is spent on each activity. Consider dedicating a specific color for each class, a color for student organizations, and a color for job searching.
A Little Each Day:
We’ve all seen the stereotypical college experience depicted in movies or television shows where students stay up all night cramming for a test. Is this realistic? Unfortunately, many people do pull all-nighters in college, but it doesn’t have to be you. When you work on creating your daily to-do lists, keep the big-picture in mind and plan ahead a little. Create reminders at least a week before any big tests or projects so you can start working on them early. Doing a little each day will go far in helping you learn the material and getting your beauty rest the night before the test.
In my experience, I’ve seen two types of students when it comes to student organizations. Person A usually does their research and finds the most applicable organization to join, and Person B excitedly joins many different organizations. Both methods work, but just be sure to join at least one organization. Person A probably misses out on some exciting opportunities because they limited themselves to one certain group. While Person B might overextend themselves and not be able to take on a leadership role in any of the organizations.
No matter which group you join or how many groups you join, remember that that group will become probably your closest group of friends on campus. Choose wisely.
Depending on the size of your university, there will probably be campus events on a weekly or daily basis. Some of these might be sponsored by the campus, the career center, or student organizations. Stay informed about what events are happening on-campus. Go ahead and add the events to your calendar, and if you have some unexpected free time, you will already have the details and be ready to go have fun!
During your first week of school, find the career center and introduce yourself. The people who work there need to be your best friends. Learn how to craft the perfect resume, master the art of interviewing, and practice making small talk during networking events.
Bonus tip – Always prioritize events sponsored by the career center. Resume ER, Mock Interviews, and Career Fairs are of the utmost importance. Recruiters might not find out what grade you received on a Chemistry test, but they will always know what your resume looks like. Take the time to make it perfect.
Beyond utilizing the career center and making connections with the people there, take the time to do some independent research. Do not wait until you are a senior to start doing the research. As a freshman, start looking at job postings to see what skills you need to be building now to be prepared in four years when you need a full-time job.
Many students have work-study jobs, internships, or other part-time jobs during college. These are so important in shaping your future. Seize opportunities even if you think they might not be the perfect fit. College is about figuring out what you like and dislike in a career.
Bonus tip – Once you have the job, remember how hard you worked to get the job. Always do your best and focus solely on work while at work. Limit the personal phone calls, do not have a textbook on your desk, and definitely do not have any personal social media accounts pulled up on the computer.
It may seem a little unusual to encourage college students to remember to have fun. In today’s competitive environment where everyone wants A’s and an internship, do not be too hard on yourself. Remember to schedule in some time to have fun with your friends and family. College is about exploring and learning. Remember to live in the moment and enjoy the experience.
Originally published on LinkedIn, republished with permission.