As I’m going through my senior year of college, I’ve realized that it’s about time I start trying to become more professional as a student, intern and worker. My days of procrastination and last-minute projects are somewhat behind me. Even though my four years here at Dominican have taught me how to become a better worker, I’m always learning new ways to become a better “me.” Because of the realization, there are a few main things that I think every college student should know.
1. Try your best to be on time – I myself have had issues with this in the past. Waking up at 7 a.m. to make it to school for an 8:30 a.m. class is no easy feat for a sleep-deprived college student. But what I’ve learned is that being late to class, to work, or to an internship, not only makes you look bad, but it makes you feel bad. The days were I actually get up early enough; I get ready and drive over to school stress-free. On the days that I’m “running late,” everything seems to go wrong, making me looks cluttered, unorganized, and irresponsible. Making an effort to give yourself more time to get ready ahead of time makes it easier to be on time.
2. Balance your commitments – This one is complicated. We all feel the pressure to fill up our resumes, help family and friends and challenge ourselves. But there is a big difference between spreading yourself too thin and only giving half of your effort, and taking on only a few tasks and excelling. There’s also the problem of not taking on or fulfilling enough commitments. My advice: pick out the necessary and obligatory commitments and focus on those first. It’s all about balance after that. If you must – say no to certain commitments. But also be honest with yourself when you’re being lazy and making excuses. Balancing commitments can be tough, but it’s necessary to keep yourself from going crazy, as commitments pile on throughout the years.
3. Get your priorities straight – Everyone has days where they want to forget about their responsibilities. But there’s a time and place for everything. Everyone needs free time to de-stress, relax and socialize. But spending too much time on all of that can make you fall seriously behind. Getting your priorities straight is something that takes some serious growing up. Taking a good look at what’s really important and what really matters to you can help.
4. Clean up your “look” – A lot of college students need some serious adjustments to their appearance if they’re trying to find an internship or job. As sad as it is, your general appearance and wardrobe leave a huge impression on professor and employers. Jeans are not appropriate for a job interview. Any piercings and tattoos should be hidden when meeting new employers. It’s essential to “clean up” your look if you want to be taken seriously.
5. Learn how to work well with others – Employers complain that our generation has a lack of communication skills and respect for others. In order to standout in their eyes, it’s important to know how to work with a team and how to give and receive feedback.
It takes time to figure this all out. Many of these things have taken me four years to discover. There are a few that I’m still working on right now. We’re all allowed to make mistakes; as students, we’re young. But let’s not kid ourselves: we’re no longer 16. College is the perfect place to make those necessary mistakes that teach us how to survive once we’re out in the real world. So take advantage of all the opportunities you have and maybe one day you’ll be the one interviewing some scrappy, college kid and shaking your head, while sitting in your big, beautiful office.
– Katherine Kulpa, Editor-in-Chief