Yes, as you already know, I survived, thrived, and graduated all during a pandemic. My senior year started in January of 2020 and everything shut down during my spring break in early March. I never thought I would want spring break to end until that happened. Now that I have graduated, I am beginning to get a grasp of this “adulting” thing. Which means I can share some of the biggest game-changers that can make or break your college experience.
Celebrate your achievements and accomplishments of how far you have come
One of the things I did not do was celebrate the things I had accomplished. I looked at all the negatives aspects such as me missing out on Senior traditions. It is all about viewpoint. If you think you did everything you could, then wonderful a round of applause for me. But, if you have any regrets like I did, then you get a round of applause from me as well. Just because you missed out on “some of the best years of your life” does not mean that the best is yet to come! It depends on how you steer the direction of your life from there. In college, you learn to celebrate the little accomplishments and shake off the unexpected C on a quiz. If you do make a great grade on a test early on in the week, celebrate during the weekend. If you bomb a test, still go out and celebrate on the weekend (after finding extra credit opportunities from your teacher). College is honestly what you make of it. The highs, the lows, the late nights, it is all about perspective.
Use a Planner
I wasn’t a planner person until my sophomore year of college when I started to forget things. Then I knew it was time for one. I have stuck beside my planners ever since as it keeps me structured and organized. This past fall was insane as I was tracking what classes were online and which ones were on campus. Not to mention the fact that I was working two jobs, an internship, and a full course load of 18 hours. I remember when I could easily remember assignments, tests, and homework without putting it to pen and paper. After getting a planner, it made things easier to remember.
If you are like me, I know how this word makes you feel, but it is CRITICALLY IMPORTANT! Networking can get you into places that your degree can NOT. I will say this again, NETWORKING CAN GET YOU INTO PLACES THAT YOUR DEGREE CAN NOT. Now let me tell you why. My first job out of college as a Social Media and PR Manager came from me reaching out about having an interest!
Sidenote: Many job applications and freelance projects are posted through social platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook! If you have a specific company you want to work for, follow, and interact with them on social platforms.
She was looking for help to run her nonprofit and I stand by serving those to make their life easier, so I emailed her my resume, cover letter and available times to chat and I got the offer! She said that my personality and energy stood out the most. This is one of my favorite reasons to talk to other people about myself because it allows me to get outside and unbiased opinion about my attributes and skills.
Internships and On Campus Jobs
Fun Fact: I have had a job since I was 14 years old; I have worked a total of 7 different positions ranging from party hosting to cashier to intramural referee and campus brand ambassadors!
Internships are going to be the most valuable thing during these four years. It is a chance to explore options outside the classroom and obtain real-world experience. To be honest, I learned more during my internships than I did inside four walls. I am a kinetic learner meaning I need to be hands-on to learn effectively. All of my internships required kinetic performance being super beneficial for me. Not to mention that most recruiters look for the experience you’ve had once you reach your junior and senior year. Freshmen, you can apply to internships as well! Recruiters are impressed when underclassmen can compete and expanding their network (there’s that word again). The most challenging part (besides getting accepted) will be determining if your internship needs to be paid or if the income isn’t that important at the moment. If you do need income and can’t find a paid internship there is always on-campus employment.
8 AMs are NOT for you
I am warning you now. If you are a freshman or transfer student and you are a morning person, you won’t be anymore. I made the mistake of not listening to others when they said I didn’t need to take an 8 AM, but as usual, I rebelled and told myself I was a morning person anyway. I shouldn’t have convinced myself of that.I was lying to myself. After the first week of 8 AM Math classes in literally the furthest building on campus, I was over it. I never took an 8 AM after that!
Join an Organization
Be active on campus! Try to break out of your shell and get involved your freshman year! I made the mistake of waiting to get involved until my sophomore year (one of the biggest regrets of my college career) so, don’t do what I did because you will be missing out! Find something you are interested in! Trust me, there is something for everyone from political clubs, to intramural teams, to a gospel choir, to professional business organizations, if you’re interested, I am guaranteeing that your college or university HAS IT. In the RARE case there isn’t a club of your liking, form your own! Starting your official and registered club on campus looks great on a resume and LinkedIn profile.
Classes at Community College
If you want to get ahead or take all the difficult classes (like I did) at community college, most schools allow that! BUT, this is my warning, most if not all schools require you to have the majority or a certain number of credit hours completed at your institution. I came into my college a second-semester freshman so I was already ahead after taking classes at Wallace Selma Community College, per my father’s request. I am terrible at Math so I completed most of it at community colleges except for Business Analytics I and II. I had no choice but to take those at the university. So if you’re not the best at Chemistry or History, find a local community college for an easier (and cheaper) alternative! Even though I have taken classes every summer since high school, it was worth it.
I know that was a lot of information about college decisions, but in truth, choose what is right for you. Choose the classes that are required, but also select a few electives that interest you. Find an organization that will accept you for yourself and if not, create your own. College will be the best time of your life, even in a pandemic 🙂
Until Next Time!