10 Things Every Student Should be Doing to Prepare for the Big Wide World
College life is busy, and it’s easy to get caught up in the bubble, but the reality is that life doesn’t start upon graduation. If you tell yourself now that you’re a business owner, the business is “you”, and your professional career has already begun – would you feel like you’re doing the right things to see your “business” succeed? There are simple things you can implement now which will make the world of difference when entering the job market.
1) Team projects are not the enemy
I don’t know about you, but I always hated these. Your grade is dependent on other people, so you’re not in control of your own success. Often times, team members don’t pull their weight and you end up scrambling to do their work at the last minute. People can never manage to find a time to meet that suits everyone and everyone has different ideas of what the end result should be. Welcome to the working world. Team projects are the perfect example of what it’s like to have co-workers. Get used to it, and start honing your negotiation skills, learning to listen, and try see the beauty in bringing together more minds and sources of creativity.
Also, this is the perfect time to network. Is there someone in your group with whom you work especially well with? Well then, this person could be the perfect one to stay in touch with, or to start a sideline business with.
2) Start paying off student loans
You think you’ll have money when you graduate, so why start now? Because the longer you wait to start paying, the more you’ll have to pay. Even if you’re only paying off the interest it will help you tremendously. Seriously, it looks like an overwhelming amount to pay off, but every bit helps. Small consistent installments now, are easier to swallow than big lump sums later. Remember, however that the U.S. Department of Education pays the interest for subsidized loans while you are enrolled, which is a huge bonus, but not for unsubsidized loans.
3) Get some life skills, will ya
We can recite the periodic table backwards, hold in-depth discussions about the political implications of potatoes, but we can’t write a check or plan a personal budget. The educational system is screwed up, but that’s no excuse. They’re not going to issue you with a note excusing you from doing your tax return because you “just don’t know how”. It’s painful. It’s not fun. But do yourself a favor and sit down with your dad, big sister or uncle Harry and let them clue you in on the basics.
4) Join the campus career center
Yes, your schedule is busy, but you know it’s not a full time commitment, right? A few meetings with a career counselor could make the world of difference when you graduate. They can also put you in touch with scholarship opportunities, potential employers and positions. If you want to chat to one of our career advisers, give us a call or send us an email and we can discuss career development options available for you in Israel.
5) Start networking now
This is actually something which you can do a lot more effectively when you’re a student. You come into contact with so many people everyday who share your field of interest, are experts in it, or can provide mentorship. Don’t be shy. Don’t think that networking means professional speed dating. It’s really just a matter of talking to people, making connections and building relationships. Here are some people you come into contact with everyday which could be potential connections:
- Teaching assistants
- School alumni who are working in your field
- Fellow club members
- Guest speakers who are experts in your field
- Family and friends
6) Document your accomplishments
Fast forward a year or two down the line and you’re in a job interview telling your interviewer about that amazing video edit you did which won you first place in the international “Damn, You’re Awesome” competition. The interviewer is bowled over by this tidbit of information and now wants to see what you’re talking about, but well, you just didn’t save a copy. It’s not brain science, but you should keep a backup of everything. You should also be continuously updating your resume so you don’t forget achievements.
7) Positions are gold
Seriously, there’s nothing like practical experience. Theoretical knowledge can only count for so much. Positions help you network and pave the way for employment for after your studies, they can show you whether or not you’re even studying something that you want to work in, and can give you broader knowledge of your field. Visit our Placements
page to see what positions we have available in your field. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, drop one of our advisers a mail
, as we might have something suitable for you that is not in our online library.
8) Challenge yourself
College is a time to expand your horizons, and try different things. If you’re an engineering student, and think you might be good at graphic design, take a class! You may discover something new about yourself, which may help clarify and shape your future goals. This being said, don’t get too carried away with minor courses here and there. Choose carefully, and don’t over commit yourself to things you won’t be able to see through to completion.
9) Set professional goals
You might not know exactly where you headed, and that’s all the more reason to give it some serious thought. What do you see yourself doing once you graduate? Or if you can’t answer this, start by thinking about what you can’t see yourself doing and work the other way around. Once you have an image in your mind of what exactly you’re working towards, the all-nighters, endless reading, assignments and lectures all seem to be of much more value.
10) Take on leadership roles
Join clubs and don’t shy away from leadership responsibilities. You don’t have to join them all, but the practice you get in being part of a student committee can be of great value to you when you enter the working world. Just like teamwork assignments, roles like this give you the perfect introduction to the working world and can be a good opportunity to network.