A Love Letter To College Freshman

loveletterIt’s possible that the first weekend of your college career just passed and you’re questioning a lot of things about this whole ‘college thing’. Everyone said this would be the best years of your life so why do you feel that way? Are you thinking, ‘why do I miss home this much?’ or ‘I don’t know if I can do this…’ It’s possible that you are very unhappy right now, it’s also possible that this past weekend was the best weekend of your life thus far. Either way, I’ll be honest with you – it’s going to be hard. I mean, it may even suck at times. College, is not meant to be glamorous. It is new, it is uncomfortable, you will feel emotions you’ve never felt. You will deal with types of people you never dealt with before. It’s not natural to live in a building with hundreds of girls and guys the same age as you. It will take you a few months, maybe even a year or so for you to appreciate the reasons why it is the best years of your life. Take a deep breath and give it time. I’ll say it again… it may take a few months or even a year for you to appreciate the reasons why it is the best years of your life. It’s hard…the adjustment to college is hard and it’s okay if you hate it right now but I promise you…it. will. get. better.

If you love college or hate college, here is a Love Letter To College Freshman that you NEED to read.  – I found this on http://www.moreloveletters.com and I couldn’t have said it better!

Dear You–

It may just be you & I up and awake in the world right now.

Just you… the quiet of a new dorm room… the glow of the laptop screen… this love letter… and a feeling webbing deep in your stomach that you may never get used to all this.

Ever.

It’s not true. You’re going to do just fine. You’re already doing just fine even if it’s one of the hardest things to convince yourself of when the tears are brinking and you just want to go back home: Back to comfort. High school. A boyfriend & friendships now sitting in the pile of “long distance.” Bonfires. Summer. Familiarity. Anything but this.

It’ll be the best four years of your life… that’s what they’re telling you, right? That—if done right—these next four years will sculpt you & change you & make you ready for the real world. Truth told: this is the real world. It’s yours. Stop thinking otherwise. Don’t let a moment more slip away.

These next four years are yours to be entirely & completely selfish.

To figure out “you” and how “you” make this world a better place. So start…

Start at the coffee bar. That’s a good place to start. Just visit the coffee bar and treat yourself to something sweet—you’re in college. It’s something to celebrate.

Knock awkwardly on the doors of your new neighbors. Everyone is waiting for someone to make the first move and plan a powwow. Be that person. Decide that tonight it is the football game and tomorrow it is popcorn and a movie night in your room. Pick a movie that is both drama & comedy, with traces of home & familiarity in it for each of you.

Befriend your RA. They are not the enemy. They are here to make every ounce of this easier for you… and they’d really appreciate the chance to try.

Call home when you have to. Cry your eyes out. Take slow slugs of the broth of homesickness in the morning.

It’s ok… It’s ok…

Let the homesickness in. Don’t push it out. Talk about it. Embrace it. It will head south eventually… I promise.

Write letters. To your friends at other schools. To your long distance boyfriend. To teachers back home. Glitter the maps with your cursive to one another. Give one another a reason to track back the campus mailbox for something other than a free pizza coupon. You’ll keep those letters for years & years. You’ll one day say that there is nothing like those letters you’ve kept stacked in a box beside your bed.

And on the note of friends… step away from Facebook for a little while. Not forever. Not for always. Just enough time to be present to the here & now. The meeting of new faces. The conversations at parties. The ice breakers that, yes, you clearly don’t want to do but should anyway. Be there for it. All of it. Don’t sit in the feeds of your friends back home; start new chapters that would make them proud.

Follow. Just follow wherever this year takes you. You’ll change. It’s inevitable. But don’t shy away from the change or the chance to develop into a better friend… a better leader… a better somebody. Accept it. When people grow distant and old relationships don’t fuel you anymore, just accept it. That’s life. It’s always happening. Clear away and cut the ties you need to cut… make room for Better & More. You’ll find best friends in this place…

Don’t go crazy looking for them. You’ll find one another and in a year from now you’ll wonder how there ever was a whole two decades of Not Knowing One Another. For now, just meet people. Sink into it naturally. You’ll get there. I promise. Just find the places where people are and start there.

A club. A meeting. The newspaper. Something. Anything. Not just for social purposes– your resume is going to start mattering sooner than you think… take it seriously.

And classes too—Go. To. Them. 8am or not—Show. Up.

Study. Try harder than you’ve ever tried before. Consider a time management course. Take at least one course that interests you… thrills you… makes you think. & don’t rush to choose a major. There’s time to get your feet wet with the muds of it all.

Most of all, embrace it. All of it. The new opportunities. The events on campus. The free stuff. The chance to grow apart from everything you’ve ever know. The chance to be someone you have always wanted to be…

Sit down during this first week of college… take out a piece of paper… and write it all down. Your hopes & your dreams & your goals for the next four years. Who do you want to become? What do you want to accomplish? It’s time to start all of this.

Write it all down. Put it in an envelope. Seal it up and scribble “Do not open until college graduation day,” in big, bold letters. And tuck it somewhere safe…

Get clear on what you want to make of these next four years and then go out and do it…

You’ve got this. You’ve really got this. And if ever you start to believe that you don’t, come find me.

Love,

Someone who has been there before.

How To Find Your Perfect Job

perfect jobI never wanted a job that was just a job. I always wanted to be one of those people who was an example of ‘if you love what you do, you won’t work a day in your life.’ Who doesn’t?? College students focus too much figuring out what job they want and not enough time on identifying the qualities of life they want in that job. If I ask a student what job they want, they usually don’t know but they wish they knew what they wanted to do. However, if I asked a student if they wanted a job where there could travel, they would have an answer. If I asked a student if they wanted a job that would allow them to climb the corporate ladder, they would have an answer. In order to figure out your dream job, I suggest you first think about the qualities of your perfect job. From that list you can then identify careers and specific companies who may be able to fulfill those qualities. Figuring out your dream job will also help you figure out what major you should declare. A lot of you “undeclared” folk should especially create a lit. If you need some ideas see my personal criteria for my perfect job below:

Criteria for my perfect job
• Work with intelligent/educated people (I always want to learn from those who are smarter than me)
• Have work/life balance (that weighs heavy on the ‘life’ side)
• Complete small projects – to see accomplishments quickly
• Be able to see change (seeing change that I did motivates me for the next project)
• Ability to advance within the company (I’m a climber, I need to always have something to work towards)
• Training opportunities for employees (Again, I always like to climb and improve)
• Work with people (I can’t sit at a cubicle and stare at a computer screen all day)
• People bale to provide people information that I have, that will benefit their life (I want to advise people)
• Have a mentor (it’s helpful for your personal health to have someone you can vent to, with the door shut)
• Opportunities to give back to the community

Make your list today! Feel free to use some of my criteria.

Keeping In Touch With Employers

thankyouSchool is starting which means your summer job or internship is ending. It is so important that you constantly keep in touch with the company you worked with or interned with this summer. Your network of professionals is key! Here are three tips on how to stay in touch with your summer companies or internships after it ends:

1. Send them a thank you note for your experience. Hand-written thank you notes, please!
2. Find out his or her birthday. Put this on your calendar and remember it every year! Make sure to put in a personal call or email or send a card on their birthday. Everyone loves when the birthday phone rings!
3. Add Value. How can you add value to your former boss? If you come across any interesting articles or information your former boss can use make sure to send it. If you worked in a marketing department and you read an interesting marketing article sent it to your old coworker or boss. Even if they’ve seen it already they’ll be impressed that you sent it along, it’s also a great way for you to stay in touch with them.

Using Your Hours Wisely

clockThere is plenty of time in college. It’s often that I hear students, especially freshman say that they want to get used to their school work first before they get involved on campus. They say they want to get acclimated to their environment first and then do other things. It’s even more common that I hear high school students say things like, “I wish I could keep playing sports or join a club but I’m a health science major and I just don’t think I’ll have time.” While I agree that there is a transition phase in college and it does take time to acclimate, I disagree with the fact that you don’t have enough time to do a variety of activities on campus. I also think that having a few different things on your plate will actually help you transition better than just focusing on your academics. Think about your time this way — there are 168 hours in a week. If you set aside 56 hours for sleep (8 hours a night), and 40 hours for academics (this is A LOT of hours for academics, I guarantee that even the smartest students don’t give this amount of time to academics) it will leave you with 72 hour for everything else. 72 hours! That’s A LOT of time. Are you really going to fill it with doing school work and adjusting to the campus? Boring, if I say so myself. I actually think that if you used that time to just get used to your environment, you’d be wasting time.  Seize the day my friends!

Change The World

Enjoying the nature

“Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” – Malcolm X

Education has been a driving force in many social revolutions—from the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s to the women’s movement of the 1970s.

The more education people receive, the more they question the social and political systems that keep them oppressed, the more they seek knowledge that can help them replace oppression with justice and freedom.

 

Retrieved from:

West, Larry. “10 Benefits of a College Education.”MSN.com June 2011: n. pag. Web. 7 Jun 2011.

You Need To Be On Time

frontrow

Be on time for every class, every day. I understand that it’s hard to walk in on time in lecture halls of 300 students or with professors who are cool and don’t really care. However, you need to be on time. It’s just one of those things. You’ll be doing yourself a favor. You’ll know what is going on in class and you’ll get the seat you want. Even if professors don’t take attendance, they will take note of the students who arrive late and the students who fall asleep in class. Some professors will make a point to call you out on that but many times professors just won’t care. What a waste of money. Pay tens of thousands of dollars for a service that you sleep right through.  For those of you who want to be on time and who want to stay awake in class but just can’t, here are some things I suggest.

  1. Schedule your classes for later in the day.
  2. Research any online classes that the school offers and consider taking one.
  3. Start drinking coffee.
  4. Go to bed early!
  5. Go to class with the goal of participating – if you walk into a class telling yourself that you will raise your hand and participate then you will be more attentive as you wait for the right moment to do so.
  6. If you feel yourself dozing in class, excuse yourself, go take a quick walk, take a deep breath, and recharge for the rest of the class.

Start Building Your Resume!

Resume

While there are many ways to create and build your social brand online through linkedin, twitter, e-portfolio’s, personal website, etc. i still believe in the power of a paper resume. When you apply for internships and jobs you still upload your resume or hand it to an employer at a career fair. Of course you’ll have the links to all of your online portfolios on your resume, but your one page resume is what an employee browses first. If they like what they see they will then do more research on you and browse through the rest of your information. I always tell students, and I’m sure I’ve said it in posts before, your GPA and your MAJOR are ONE LINE of your resume. There is A LOT more space to fill in on that piece of paper. It’s great that you were president of National Honor Society, captain of the soccer team, head lifeguard at the beach, and babysat the same kids for 4 years throughout high school however, campus recruiters don’t care about that. They know how much opportunity and experiences are available on a college campus and they want to see that you are taking advantage of those experiences. How do you start doing that? Here are some tips on jumping into the ‘experience’ world and start building your resume now!…even as a Freshman in college.

1. Join a club – This is the most obvious one. Clubs look great on a resume and are extremely useful to your college experience. You will network, meet alumni, possibly attend conferences, get active on campus, meet new friends and if you get involved early on, as a freshman or sophomore, you’ll have a much better chance of holding a leadership position as a junior or senior. Employer’s LOVE seeing leadership on a resume.

2. Talk to a professor – Ask them if they know of an opportunities for you. Ask them if they know of something that you may be interested in. When I was teaching freshman I had a student come ask me this. I had been a part of the campus for 6 years at that time and I knew the in’s and out’s of the campus so when she said she wanted to get involved I knew exactly where she would do well and what department she should apply for a student job in.

3. Find the Career Services office – Go into career services and introduce yourself. You want they to know you! Also ask them if they know of opportunities for you. Freshman, there are opportunities that are specifically for YOU – sophomores, juniors and seniors cannot do them. There are programs specifically for certain ages and you may miss them if you sit around and do nothing. Also – ask them if they have someone who can review your resume or if they have services to learn about how to create a resume and start revising!