Student Success Strategy #73: And finally, random advice!

A few last bits of advice from my students, who often wrote just one line of advice or information.

“Never underestimate the wrath of a roommate who didn’t get a date.”

“Homecoming events include lots of free stuff.”

“Go to the football games for the tailgate parties.  Then skip the games.”

“Carry an umbrella and a plastic bag with you to protect your books.”

“Carry your ID everywhere.”

“Your legs will stick to the chair if your shorts are too short.”

“If you find a parking space, never leave.”

“Offer to pay for some of the gas rather than driving your car.  The driver will appreciate it and you don’t risk having your car trashed.”

“Don’t leave a drunk friend alone, even if you have to leave the party early.”

“Bring lots of underwear and you can avoid laundry until Mom comes to visit.”

“Don’t drink things you don’t like.  If it’s something you need to ‘develop a taste for’ then either don’t drink it or admit you just want to get drunk.”

“Drinking games are more fun for the spectators than the drinkers.”

“Decide what you want your spring break to be.  If it’s a vacation, don’t take any books home with you.  If it’s a way to catch up or get ahead on assignments, don’t waste all your time sleeping or partying with your old friends.  If you want to do something completely different, look into the Alternative Spring Break volunteer programs.”

Student Success Strategy #73:  Listen to random advice from former students.  


Student Success Strategy #69: What Do You Need To Learn?

You are in school, studying, writing papers, taking tests and collaborating on group projects.  After earning a degree, you want to establish yourself in a career.

“Here I am, World!  Pay me!”

But have you learned anything about working?  You may be the genius in your stock market economics class, the star of your social work program, or the dream student for your favorite professor, but there are workforce skills you must master to succeed in your career.

This is one reason why internships, externships, and co-op learning experiences are so important while you are in college.  By participating in these, you see and learn first-hand what the work world requires of you.

The shirt with the three-leaf logo on it?  Might be okay for class.  Not okay for the workplace.  Not even to walk in to pick up an application.

Skip a day just because you felt like it?  You might be affected by a loss of points in class, but skipping work?  A great way to lose a job.

Arguing with fellow students on a project?  You need to learn negotiation, conflict resolution, and anger management skills for the workplace.

What if you are almost done with your academic studies and there is no time to commit to a semester-long internship?

Your career services office can help.  Eligibility for their services usually includes alumni, so don’t ignore them after graduation.

But wait!  There’s more!  There are  many services in the community to help you get a job and learn the skills needed to be an excellent employee.  If you have already graduated – whether recently or many years ago – and now need help with employment opportunities and skills, check them out!   They have work skills seminars, resume-writing services, and interviewing practice sessions.  Some of these community organizations even find you paid internships that can lead to permanent positions.

Student Success Strategy #69:  What do you need to learn?  More than what’s covered in your classes.


Student Success Strategy #27: Experience is necessary

Why are you in college?  For most people, it is the path to a better job.  You need good grades to impress your future employers, but once you begin applying, you’ll hear something like this:

Student:  I’d like to apply for this position.

Employer:  What have you done to prepare yourself for this position?

Student:  I have a 4.0 GPA in my major.

Employer:  Great.  And what experience do you have?

Student:  I studied my way through college to get my 4.0 GPA.

Employer:  But what can you do for us?  What have you done?

Student:  I’ll work very hard.

Employer:  We are looking for someone who has proven themselves through action, not just studying.  Do you have any experience?

Student:  No, but I’ll do a great job for you.

Employer:  Thanks, but we need people who already have experience.

Don’t despair!  Look into your college’s Career Center, Experiential Learning Center, or other office specializing in finding work for students.  There are opportunities for students to get experience in the “real world” while they are still in college.  Get that experience, and you’ll have the edge on others who have just studied or spent their time on non-work activities.

A few of the opportunities we’ll explore in future posts are internships, externships, co-ops, work-study programs, and even volunteer opportunities.

Student Success Strategy #27:  Experience is necessary.  Find resources on your campus to plan your path to a professional position before you are graduating!