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5 Things I Wish I Knew In College
College is hard. Life is harder. There are a lot of things that I would tell my former self if I could borrow Stewie Griffin's time machine and go back.
These are the top 5:
1. Have a plan! A real plan. My plan was to just take classes that I was interested in, and eventually the job fairy would deliver me a job tailored to my interested. I ended up with a double major in Economics and Psychology, with a minor in Sport Administration. I know, WTF right? Turns out the NFL doesn't hire psychological economists.
You may not know what you want to do when you're 18, but for the love of God, take an educated guess. Pick a career, and take courses that will give you marketable skills in that field. Have a Plan B if you end up hating your first choice. But the worst thing you can do is wing it and hope everything works out.
2. Intern! Guess what! In today's world, even an ENTRY LEVEL position requires previous experience. Pretty screwed up, I know!
When I was a student, I thought internships were a joke. Be a slave to some company for little or even no compensation? Pfft. No way.
So what did I do? I spent a lot of my free time making $7/hour at the school library. Know what's a lot more valuable than $7/hour? Real world experience in your desired career field. You'll realize this when you graduate, and the job to be the assistant assistant's assistant at that company you wanna work at requires 2-3 years of previous experience. It may seem like a waste right now, but you have to believe me when I say interning - even if it's for free - will pay off in the long run. You have to trust me.
3. Pay attention! You know that degree your working towards? Unless you're graduating from an Ivy League college, that actual piece of paper means nothing. NOTHING. Everyone has one.
What you need to do is learn actual, real, marketable skills. Don't take classes that are heavy on BS flow charts and diagrams. And the classes you do take, LISTEN.
Learn computer programming. Learn different software. Learn languages. Things you can put on a resume. This is important.
4. Go cheap! One of my biggest regrets is attending an expensive private college. Not only did it basically bankrupt my family, it also left me saddled with tens of thousands in avoidable debt.
Like I said before, unless you're going Ivy League, it's all the same. I attended a supposed national "Top 50" university and graduated with a 3.5 GPA, with two majors and a minor. FYI, I've been working retail for two years since graduation just to pay off my loans.
If I could do it again? I'd go to a state school. Pay about 1/3 of what I paid. Graduate with little to no loans. And I'd be in the same exact position I'm in now.
5. Ask for help! You need to realize that the resources you have access to now as a college student, you will never have again.
Talk to that guidance counselor. If you don't know what you want to be, or if you don't know what courses will put you in the best position to achieve your dreams, ask! They'll guide you. That's their job.
Go to that Career Center. They can help you get a job after school. I didn't. But I know some friends who did. And let me tell you, they're doing MUCH better than I am right now.
Because after you graduate, there's no one there to help you. Except your parents' sketchy friend who has a friend who owns a box company who thinks he could maybe get you a job. You don't want a job at your parents' friend's friend's box company. Trust me. Use the resources at your finger tips to help you get a job that will get you on track to the career that you really want.