Currently, I am in my last semester of undergrad at a small university in Dallas, Texas. Of all of the lessons I have learned while in college, one of the most important has been to not just focus on grades. College is a time to learn academic material but it’s also a time to grow as a person. Below are my top four to-dos before you graduate college. These activities will help you grow as a person, and, help you build your resume as you might be able to rise to leadership roles along the way.
Community engagement is an important activity to do because it shows you are willing to work without receiving something in return. It also shows that you care to take time to help people.
Mission Arlington was one of my favorite volunteering experiences. This organization provides different services for those in the community such as health clinics, counseling, support group, children-youth group home access, after-school groups, bible groups, and provides local kids school supplies. I was reminded that it takes a lot of work and people to operate this type of organization. During this experience, I was able to see the sacrifice of the workers and volunteers.
Join an on-campus social organization
Getting involved in a fun way on campus allows you to meet new people and to do activities outside of classes. It is also a great way to work with different types of personalities.
I have loved being in an on-campus social organization. Specifically, I joined an organization that helped promote the Spanish language and the cultures of different Spanish-speaking countries. This experience allowed me to learn about a different culture and to meet many different types of people. When there were events, everyone in the group had to work together to make the events successful. I was able to serve in a leadership position in this organization as the secretary—an experience I can leverage when applying to jobs.
Gain experience in the field you want to work in (internship, shadowing, etc.)
This is probably the most important thing to do because many jobs require employees to have experience in the field. Working in your desired field gives you the reality of working in that field and it can help you decide if you like the future job that you think you want. Pre-professional experiences while in college can also teach you important skills such as organization, time management, and how to communicate with different types of people and people both older and younger than you.
While in college, I had the opportunity to be an assistant a professor in a Spanish 1 course and I was also her administrative assistant. This experience allowed me to learn what it takes to teach a class—and I realized that it takes a lot of work! I also learned that it takes an immense amount of work to teach multiple classes and handle all of the paperwork and other duties that go along with that role. Not only do professors have classes to teach, but they also have various things to do for the university such as work on research projects, advise students, and sometimes take part in various volunteer activities.
Network at conferences, workshops, and job fairs, but also in classes
Networking is critical because it provides the opportunity to meet potential employers; you can also meet potential people to collaborate on projects through networking.
For example, my relationships with professors have been very helpful in my academic and professional career. I have received advice about graduate school, interview tips, writing tips, and suggestions on how to improve various projects I have worked on. Frequently, relationships with professors have led to recommendation letters, too. I built these relationships with professors by turning assignments on time, participating in class, and showing that I was trying to learn in their classes not just be there to get a good grade.
Not only does being active and engaged in college help build character and a wealth of experience you can draw on later in life, but they help to build your resume for future jobs, internships or graduate school. Future employers and graduate schools look for individuals who did more in college than just attend classes. So get out there and get involved from the get-go!
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