This is a friendly reminder that your life is yours to design. You don’t like something? Alter it. You have negative people in your life? Hug them goodbye. You want to visit a new country? I’ll see you on the next flight. Of course I know nothing is that simple, but even changing your outlook on a topic can help big time.
This post, though, is a friendly reminder to own your college career, because (for the most part) you only do it once. It also serves as a “thank you” post to all the wonderful organizations and people that became friends, family and mentors. As I was about to graduate with my bachelor’s degree, I spent a lot of time reflecting on everything I have accomplished over the last four years and how different organizations and people came to mean so much to me. Everyone asked for them (kidding), so here are my tips and related experiences as a person fresh out of college.
Work on your profession
I promise that you are not going to learn half of what you could possibly need by going to class and only class. You are not even going to learn half of the stuff you may need to know through an internship, but it will get you further than solely class. During my time at Hofstra, I held various internships in different areas of communications, and it helped me sort through what I did and did not want to do in my career. Plus, it helped me begin networking which is vital for a person in communications.
Side note: If interning is not an option, try to get involved at school, whether it be your business society, sustainability club, or the school newspaper. You will be amazed how much you will grow during your time in these organizations and you will be connected with so many like-minded people. At Hofstra, I joined a pre-professional fraternity in the Arts and Sciences of Communications, Zeta Phi Eta, and I can not begin to explain how much the incredibly talented members of the organization helped me aspire to achieve more and more. I landed my first internship through a connection in Zeta, I met and heard from so many professionals through panels we held, we connected with alumni in the field and most of all, I gained a family that was dedicated to communications and dedicated to Zeta’s members.
So get involved, take a chance and own what you want to do in the future!
Explore the unknown
Leave the country. Please, just do it.
I know not everyone can study abroad due to financial and educational obligations (Fun fact: studying abroad is often cheaper than your home institution’s tuition), and that it is not for everyone. However, if you have the slightest inclination to do it, do yourself a favor and go.
Side note: Not to be cliché, but studying abroad changed me as a person. Studying through Hofstra’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication in Rome for a month brought me out of my shell big time. It taught me that I can stay out late to make memories I will never forget and still get my school work done. Can you imagine that? Having fun! Of course, it helped that my study abroad group was absolutely phenomenal and the professors truly cared about us as individuals.
Then, studying in Australia for a semester let me escape my busy school schedule and just relax. When I was in Australia, my only obligation was to be a student and my only “extracurricular activity” was traveling. I saw so many new parts of the world, learned how to more quickly make decisions due to my trip to Thailand, I gained confidence in myself and my ability to communicate with all sorts of people and I also learned to relax and remember that not every little detail had to be written on my calendar. And despite every little thing being written on my calendar now, I still can appreciate that I know it does not need to be!
Studying abroad and traveling in general is an invaluable experience and I hope that anyone who wants to can, and that no one’s regret after college is that he or she did not.
I do not care how focused you are on maintaining that 4.0 or exceeding at an internship. You will work the rest of your life; make sure you enjoy your present life! Once I got back from Rome, I fully embraced being in my sorority, Phi Sigma Sigma. Before studying abroad, I was so concerned about our philanthropy events and trying to be the best executive board member I could, and I did not let myself enjoy the social aspect of it as much. Junior year came and my sisters could tell I changed. I was “fun!” I talked to new people, opted to go out when I normally would not and I really made sure I was fully enjoying myself while also balancing the rest of my schedule.
Side note: I never thought I would be in a sorority, but now I cannot imagine my college years without it. Being in a sorority was an absolute privilege and being by my sisters’ sides through the ups and downs and turn abouts of college was an experience like no other. During my senior year, I would be at a philanthropy or social event or even my own chapter and look back at all the new members and be in awe that I had something to do with the legacy of Greek life and the positive impact it has had on so many, including myself. It seems extra sentimental, but nothing is like gaining friends and sisters with whom to share everything. No one needs to join a Greek organization to have these experiences, of course. I am just exemplifying my own.
Most importantly, as Kendrick Lamar has popularly said, “Sit down, be humble.” Being kind is good for your soul and good for all around you. Whether it is helping at your local food drive (throw back to when we packed boxes of food in the pouring rain with Zeta), sending someone an incognito tweet through the popular campus Give Kindness organization or just picking up someone’s pencil that fell, having a caring personality is what makes the world go around. You never know what others are going through, so the smallest act of kindness can make someone’s day. They say karma always gets back to you, so spread good vibes, say “Thank you,” and appreciate all you have.
For those who made it through the post, I hope something got your inspiration button pressed. College is what you make of it, so make it count. Work hard, but have fun. Love those around you and love yourself. Four years will go by so fast, so make them meaningful!