So you just graduated high school and are about to embark on the journey that is post secondary education. Excited? Nervous? Worried? That’s natural. Wait until you get to your senior year and about to enter the real world—yeah, now that’s scary.
I always wish I had someone older and wiser during my first year of university to send me in the right direction, but I was on my own to learn the ropes. So here I am, a little older and wiser, and I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve learned along the way.
Before you know it, you’ll be halfway through your undergrad and realize that you only have a couple more years to go. And it will fly by, I guarantee you. Put in the effort early and volunteer/intern as much as possible. Any contacts you make right off the bat are great and your network can only grow from there. Also, make the most of all the opportunities that come with campus life. Check job postings, bulletin boards, newspapers, everything—it never hurts to try! Get out there and take initiative.
Network, network, network
It’s always about who you know, in any industry. Start with your fellow classmates and people on campus. As a student, you have the luxury of being surrounded by so many talented people and who knows, any one of them could be the next Bill Gates. It’s also important to attend industry mixers, career events and anything else that relates to your field of interest. And once you’re there, don’t be shy to introduce yourself. By the end of your university experience, you want to have a solid bank of contacts that you can reach out to.
Get on social media
This does not mean you always need to be Instagramming your food or tweeting about the annoying person sitting next to you, think of social media as a platform for marketing yourself as a brand. Employers want to see what you have to offer and what better way than an online destination where they can get the best sense of you on a professional, and personal, level. It’s becoming more and more common to come across great job opportunities and career leads on social media sites.
Another way to use the digital tools to your full advantage is to start a blog. This is the easiest way to get your work out there and published for the world to see.
Positivity is key
There is absolutely no benefit of being a Debby-Downer when you’re going through your university experience. Yes, it can be stressful, but don’t let it get to you. Employers will take notice if you are always the one with a great attitude and are pleasant to be around. Why would anyone hire someone that sucks the life out of a room? Don’t be that person.
Surround yourself with the right people.
There’s a theory that you’re a reflection of the five of your closest friends and I agree 100 per cent. Even more than five people, I think the people around you play a crucial part in the type of path you end up on. If you have lazy, unmotivated people around you, they can—and will—get in the way of your success. Try to find like-minded people who can help you, rather than hinder your progress. Collaborate and grow rather than compromise and feel stuck. Once you have that core group of people who have similar goals and work-ethics, you can only go up from there.
I hope these tips will come in handy during your own university experience—Good luck!