Freshman year of college can be quite the confusing time for a lot of people. Its your first taste of independent (well semi independent) living and you have to learn how to balance your social life, academics and other pressures you face in college. Now that I am a rising senior in college I wish I could talk to my freshman self and impart some wisdom about what I should have been doing. Some things I wish I knew when I was a freshman are…
1. Its never to early to start looking for an internship.
Having an internship as a freshman would put you so far ahead of the game. Related to this is also to look for internships in non traditional ways. Do not just apply for internships at big companies or ones your advisor tells you to apply to. Find companies you admire and apply to them.
2. You should be doing a lot of reading about topics your interested in relevant to what you think your future career will be.
I cannot tell you how many business majors as a freshman wanted to get into “investment banking”. If you told a person you wanted to get into that career they would laugh at you as it is such a vague and unclear term. Read about what you want to do and this way you can also find out if this is something you want to do for the rest of your life.
3. You should work on developing a skill set.
Even if that skill set is something like being a wizard with excel you have 4 years to hone that skill set and it will help separate you from the crowd. Pick something and master it.
4. Get involved with clubs and position yourself to eventually become president.
I wish someone told me this one. Being the president of a club is a incredible networking opportunity and a great resume builder.
5. Actually pay attention in class and take classes that are useful.
I used to just go to class to work for a grade rather than actually trying to learn the material. When your in class try and figure out ways how what your learning could be applied in real life. If you can’t think of any ways then you probably shouldn’t be in that class.
6. In every class always identify the “gimme” points and make sure you get a 100% on them or as close to it as possible.
I define “gimme” points as class participation, clicker questions, homework and extra credit. This way if you mess up on an exam it is not the end of the world. You will be thanking me come finals if you listen to this one.
7. Take up a minor in computer science or at least take some classes in the subject.
The world more and more is being run through computers and the internet so it would be advantageous to know how computers work on a deeper level. Sharpen your excel skills, learn how to code on a basic level and try and learn how to use photoshop.
As the old saying goes hindsight is 20/20. Is there anything you wish you knew as a freshman that is not on this list?