You survived your first year in college, now what? Universities often focus programs and services to first-year students that help them get ready for the transition from high school to college. Then you become a sophomore and you see fewer programs targeting the second-year experience. These tips will help you stay on track and make your college experience more meaningful:
- Get to know the professors in your major. Yeah, yeah, yeah – how am I supposed to do this? Easy. Identify who they are, their areas of research, the classes they teach, and their office hours. Most of this information can be found on the college website. Professors are people just like you and they, too, were students. Once you learn about who these faculty are and their accomplishments, make an appointment to meet with them. If you can get 15-30 minutes of their time, ask them about their areas of expertise, their passions, and their career paths. At the end of the meeting, ask them for the top three things you can do to be successful in life. Yes, life, not college. Their answers will get to the heart of their most valuable life lessons which you can apply to all facets of life. Follow up your meeting with a thank you note and check in every now and then to let them know what you are learning. Faculty appreciate the relationships they develop with students and they often seek students to share opportunities.
- Gain experience. Get an on-campus job, an internship, or a volunteer gig. Attend on- and off-campus events. Join a club, a team, or a committee. Don’t wait until you are a senior to get experience. Getting involved early can help you develop professional skills, résumé-worthy experience, a professional network, and a better idea of what you want to do in life. Nervous about doing this alone? Ask a classmate to attend an event with you or introduce yourself to a student leader and ask him or her to show you around.
- Get help. After completing your first year, you have a better idea of what you need to develop personally and professionally. Check out the services your school provides. Maybe you need a tutor, career services, personal counseling, or financial advice. Your tuition covers the cost of these services, so use them! Successful people know what they need help with and seek it out. Be a successful person.