College is hard, but learning how to be professional while finding your way can be even harder. Here are a few tips and tricks to stay professional and begin increasing your network.
1. Check your emails, frequently
I know so many kids who would let email upon email pile up in their inbox during high school. News flash: we're not in high school anymore. Professors will email, classmates for team projects will email, sales for the bookstores or local events will come to you via email. You might even get free stuff from your email. Check your email more than once a day! It is time for big kid communication.
2. Time Management
Nothing, and I mean nothing, drives me more insane than that kid who continuously walks into class 10 minutes late every single day! It is rude to your professor or TA, it is rude to your classmates, it is distracting, and a very, very bad habit to have. You should be at least five to ten minutes early, trust me. This will make life a lot easier.
3. Keeping a Planner
You need some way to do it. Throughout high school, when things got super crazy, I would just stop using my planner. I didn’t have time to write all that down. But, that really isn’t a very good way to go in college. Whether it be via your phone, computer, or good ‘ol pen and paper, plan things out. I love using the Reminders app on my MacBook and iPhone so that they are all synced together. I made a list for each day, which allows me to plan out what sections I need to read, what assignments I have to get done, and what other chores I should accomplish. I also see a lot of traditional planners, or people use sticky notes or notes on their computers to keep running lists. All are very good options, pick one that works for your life.
4. Taking risks, the right kind of risks
I am not saying that you should see if you can drink five four locos in an hour. I am talking about applying for that difficult internship, running for a position within your organization or club. Push your limits to expand academic and personal success. Go outside your comfort zone.
That mini skirt you are constantly tugging at while trying to gracefully (and somewhat comfortably) sit in the chair outside the interview office is not attractive. Professional dress is quite the art, and you should make sure to have a nice business casual, a nice business formal, and a few spare items in your college wardrobe, especially as you get into your elder years of college. Everyone loves a well dressed person. And, if you are in business school, you better be able to have business clothes to dress up for presentations, I am overwhelmingly shocked by all of the freshmen business students who do not have any dress clothes, or even business casual clothes with them. You are in business school, people! Making a good impression will help you land the job, and being the girl who couldn't sit comfortably in your chair will not be the right impression to leave.
6. How to Study
If you can’t learn how to study within the first few exams, you are basically doomed. Figure out what works best for you. Re-reading the textbook chapters, notecards, practice tests, the list can go on. Don’t feel like you are obligated to stay in the norm, whatever helps you helps you.
Networking is a must. You need a nice, professional looking headshot. It doesn’t have to be from some fancy studio, just put on some business clothes and try to get a professional looking selfie. Make sure to connect with people you meet, expand your horizons. The saying goes, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
8. Handling your responsibilities
Feeling sick, schedule yourself a doctor's appointment. Lost your debit card? Time to call the bank and tell them to shut it down. Bad hangover? How about, no more drinking on a Tuesday night.
9. Building your resume
This goes hand in hand with LinkedIn and taking the right decisions. You have four years to add as much as you can to your resume. Remember, longevity looks good to companies, diversity looks good to companies, and it's more than paid work they are looking for. Volunteerism is a big aspect of what companies look for in future employees.