Friday, September 25, 2015

How To Be Successful In College [Extracurricular/Part 3]

Welcome to Part 3 of this series about being successful in college! If you missed part 1 or part 2, have a read--they focus on completely different topics. Today we are focusing on extracurriculars because believe it or not, those clubs and activities you participate in make a huge difference when applying to jobs! 

Join A Club: Join any club you find interesting. In fact, try out multiple clubs and pick one you enjoy. This doesn't have to be related to your major whatsoever. You could join the triathlon club if that's your jam. Or maybe you're interested in film or foreign language or water polo. Take your pick. Universities often host a club fair at the beginning of the academic year (or sometimes each term). Wonder around with a friend or solo. Grab flyers. Check out some club meetings. I highly recommend checking out your major's club, if they have one. I would go at least once or twice. I attended my major's club for my first year. I went to the weekly meetings, met some people, listened to talks by people in the field and figured out careers I'm not interested in! Academic clubs generally offer a lot of career-related support by people who want you to be successful. Go for it and make sure to include it on your resume! 

Do Internships: This is incredibly crucial and sometimes even required to graduate. In my second year I did something like an internship. It was in my department and I got a couple units. The best part: after being in the "class"/internship for a quarter, I got hired. This was my first job ever and it was on campus [score!]. I worked there for a year until moving up to a higher paying part time job elsewhere on campus. 

Take Advantage Of Opportunities: There is a good chance that professors will send out opportunities to students via e-mail. Several of my professors sent out e-mails about on campus jobs, internships [paid or unpaid], research assistant positions, and volunteer opportunities. Take advantage of these opportunities! I cannot stress this enough. If you follow up on some of these opportunities, they will lead to future jobs or internships. Even if something isn't paid, it will still look great on your resume and you could get a reference or job out of it. Aside from that, volunteer work is highly applauded by employers and universities. My university gave out a special certificate and mention on your diploma if you completed over a certain number of volunteer hours during your time as an undergraduate. 

Check Out Greek Life: Although Greek Life is not for everyone, I highly recommend it if it's your thing. I am a member of a sorority and am really glad I chose to be involved in Greek Life. I recommend checking out sororities or fraternities before you start school, then consider signing up for rush. From my experience, sororities offer a lot of leadership skills, discipline and create a lot of friendships and a fun social life. There are also academic and cultural fraternities that are much different than social organizations. 

Network: This is my most important tip and I had no idea where to place it! Networking is the best thing you can do for your job prospects. I found my first big girl job [the one I had up until grad school] by networking. Go to events, get to know friends of friends in your field and mingle at clubs. One of my professors once said, "it's not about what you know, it's who you know." That cannot be more true [as sad as it seems!]. Seek out people in your field for advice and help; eventually you will do the same for someone else. 

I hope these tips were helpful. I enjoyed writing this series! Did you like it? Is there another area or topic you'd like to see in the future? 

Let me know!

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