College is fun. It’s all about new experiences and adventures filled with some of your best friends. But it’s true when they say that all good things must come to an end. Everyone goes different directions after they graduate with their bachelors, but I’ve found that there are a lot of useful things that you can do while in college to prepare for whatever your future will hold.
1. Join an RSO (Or two, or three…).
It doesn’t have to be as serious as a professional fraternity, but that doesn’t mean that you have to sell your soul to the bronies either. Join an organization that you’re passionate about, but it also doesn’t hurt to infiltrate an up and coming club that you can easily snag a leadership position in. Employers and grad schools want to see what you’ve done outside of the classroom, and student organizations are a great way to get involved while making friends.
2. Go to conferences.
But don’t just sit and listen to panels. Most conferences aren’t free, so you want to make sure that you’re making a worthy investment. Try to talk to a panelist or two after they’ve presented. Networking can be big and scary, but it usually helps to try to find some sort of common ground. If you haven’t yet, make a business card and LinkedIn
Whether you’re doing research, working in an office, or just getting coffee for your boss, internships get your foot in the door. They provide connections as well as real-life knowledge and experience. It’s also nice when you can get course credit in the process. Not everyone loves their internship experiences, but sometimes they can be useful in finding out what you don’t want to do with your life.
4. Study abroad.
I have a whole separate article on why studying abroad is worthwhile, but beyond the personal growth, it definitely stands out on a resumé. Studying abroad proves that you can be independent and get around a foreign country.
5. Hone your public speaking skills.
Out of everything listed, this is probably the least obvious one. Studies show that employers value public speaking. Being able to communicate effectively makes for a competitive and desirable applicant, no matter what field you’re in.
6. Know your limits.
College is all about pushing yourself, but it's important to know your limits. During freshman year, it's easy to find yourself overwhelmed and overcommitted. My school is so expansive and always has something going on, so one lesson that I gained was learning how to say no. Trust me, your sleeping schedule will thank you.
Your college experience is 100% what you make of it, so take advantage of all of the opportunities that you're provided in these four short years.