Recently I had a conversation with a close friend about how our college experience was going so far. As usual, I was indecisive about my experience but happy with how things were going. Our overall conversation was focused on the fact the we were in better places now that we decided to stay at home and that being in New York was great because we have more opportunities in our disposal compared to other people who leave the city, and also we will be leaving school with no debt, which makes me very happy. I was always taught that going to certain schools can either help or hinder your chances of getting a job in the major that you pursue in college. And although this is true for many cases and scenarios, I learned that putting yourself out there (whether it's through going to networking events or doing various activities throughout your college experience) can help just as much.
The truth is that you can only get opportunities and chances if you put yourself out there. It’s basically shooting your shot (which doesn’t only work for dating).
Many people mope around and only focus on one aspect of their collegiate experience when they should utilize opportunities and do everything possible while in school. This is why college in many ways relates to high school, and the job search or grad school process relates in many ways to the college application process. A lot of these schools or jobs want well rounded individuals with work experience or ties to your school.
We as students tend to focus on the grades aspect of school. I personally had issues with that in high school, constantly stressing over grades and classes that in the long run didn't really matter to what I was doing or wanted. Although I received a good average, I had to scramble my junior year of high school to find after school activities that didn't have a grade connected to them. This was hard for me because I went to a performing arts high school where I was working a lot on activities that were considered as a class to the admissions board (and trust me, I tried really hard to put my chorus classes as an EC). And to be perfectly honest, if I wasn't a commuter student I would probably be in the same position now. I joined three organizations this year because I wanted to meet people, and at the time I was considering transferring so I wanted to bulk up on activities since I didn't have my internship at the time. I loved being a part of groups like ASA and more because it was fun and it put my mind off of things like work and school. These types of organizations or groups, like frats or clubs related to your major, are great because this is a great way to network and meet people who are interested in things that you're interested in. By going to a few entrepreneurship club meetings or a few NCNW meetings I learned many things about business or about what's happening in the world and CCNY community.
Another thing that you can do is see if any of your professors know about internships and jobs related to your major. I got my internship because my professor was listing a bunch of recording studios in NYC that taught interns a lot and I applied immediately. Professors can usually refer you to jobs or opportunities if you have a good relationship with them and often times I've heard of professors giving some students research jobs or internship opportunities depending on what you do, your skill set, and if they like you. They can also refer you to other people that they know in the industries that you want to work in or give you recommendation letters for grads schools or jobs. Once, a family friend of mine got a really great recommendation letter from a professor that was a former student of the graduate school that she wanted to attend. Also, by chance, that professor knew people in the admissions department and she is now currently pursuing her masters at this particular institution. She definitely worked hard to get into this program, but that connection also helped a lot.
Another point that is important is contacting your career services department and bothering them constantly (but don’t be crazy). Make these people know your name and apply to programs like the internship or mentor program early, because no matter where you go to school, I guarantee you there are always job recruiters going to your career services department to look for students to hire.The earlier you start, the less time you’ll spend freaking out your senior year when you have to find a job. Also be sure to check the emails that they send you as well, because there's always something important in these emails, whether they talk about recruiting or new qualifications that you need to have for certain jobs. Last semester, the career services department sent out emails about hiring for the C.I.A and a peer of mine who always wanted to work for the C.I.A missed this chance to talk to the hiring department because she didn't check her email. You have to check these emails so you don't end up in the dark when it comes to these amazing job opportunities.
Remember that you have to stay motivated and grind while you’re in college. It’s not about who you know or the price tag of your school, but how hard you work and the impressions you make. This article is mainly for me so that I can motivate myself and keep working towards my goals and aspirations. From personal experience and from people that I know who gave me these tips, this is a great way to be successful while in college.