The College Year
The end of the spring semester came quickly. Grading final assignments and posting final grades are in process. In doing so, I am remembering what happened on the last day of classes. At the end of one of my classes, two students stated how much they enjoyed the class. At the end of our conversation, they asked for a letter of recommendation. I was surprised and pleased. I responded by saying, I am so pleased you asked for a letter of recommendation, as I encourage students to seek letters of recommendation while in college. They said, we know! You talked about this and other career ideas throughout the semester. I laughed and said, really? I do?
They started to talk about this idea and other ideas that I state to the class throughout the semester. These ideas are in my book, Check It Off! Pave Your Way Through College to Career. After talking with the students for some time, they stated that over the semester several statements that I repeated resonated with them. These are their “take-aways” on important ideas worth remembering; therefore, worth repeating!
Ideas Worth Repeating
1-Think of College as Your Workplace
Students should view college as an opportunity to use classes to their advantage. For example, if you give a presentation for a class, create a PowerPoint slide deck to use as an example of a well-constructed presentation when on a job interview. Also, think of videotaping the presentation to use as an example of great oral and presentation communication skills. Every course provides an opportunity to highlight specific skills needed for the workplace. Capitalize on these opportunities.
2-Take Classes for a Purpose – Not a Grade
When courses are viewed in a different light, for a purpose not the grade, then the course becomes more meaningful. For example, if you are interested in the theatre but are reluctant to choose this as a career, take a course to “test the water.” Only by experiencing new opportunities are you able to determine if that career path is best for you. Take the time to think about each course and how you can make that course work for you.
3-Be Mindful of the College Journey
College is a journey not a sprint race from start to finish. If you think of college as a “winding river” instead of a single path without making mistakes or trying on new experiences then you are missing out on the college experience. College is a time for you to think about you and your likes and dislikes. Only through experience will you find a career that you are passionate about. Be mindful of the college process which should not be rushed but enjoyed.
4-Don’t Obsess Over Grades
When in college, using courses to your advantage should “trump” getting an “A.” If concentrating on the grade becomes the focus, then opportunities could be missed. Once again, use courses to your advantage. Stop focusing on grades.
As a teacher, I offer a lot of advice to students. I am always surprised at what resonates with students to the point that they remember and apply these ideas. Going from college to career is to recognize those opportunities while in college to use to your advantage, so you obtain a career you want to pursue.
My book, Check It Off! Pave Your Way Through College to Career is about navigating the college years to take advantage of everything college offers. The book is structured for you to take advantage of all the services and people at your disposal while in college.
When you view college as a place to use to your advantage, you view college differently. You view college not as a goal to reach, but a journey. The journey ceases to become this straight line from college acceptance to graduation, but a flowing river picking up the necessary skills and knowledge for a career and ultimate job once you graduate. When college is viewed like this, anxiety once you graduate is alleviated, because you will have the tools to obtain that first job post college.
Preparation is the key. College is the door.
For more information about seeking employment and networking, refer to the book Check It Off! Pave Your Way Through College to Career by Vera Teller, Ph.D.