As a recent college graduate, I’ve spent the past few weeks reflecting on my journey. The road was bumpy along the way, sometimes filled with unavoidable potholes, other times a smooth stretch laid out in front of me. College has allowed me to grow in more ways than I ever thought and I am so grateful for everything I experienced along the way, good and bad. Looking back, here are a few pieces of advice I want to share with freshmen students.
It’s okay to be undecided. I graduated from SUNY Oswego with a degree in public relations and a minor in business administration. However, this was not the path I set out for when I graduated high school. I started as an undeclared major at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and after half a year of debating actuarial science and biomedical engineering, I realized that I was not as passionate about a STEM career as I thought I was.
I loved to write and was intrigued by social media, and after doing some research, it seemed that public relations was the right path. I talked with two cousins, one who was a marketing major and the other who was a public relations major. I liked what I heard, so I ran with it.
Don’t stress so much. This applies to your major, internships, jobs, classes and social relationships. There were many times I got caught up in the small things and would get down on myself when I shouldn’t have. I know that it’s easier said than done, but focusing on unknown and greater opportunities that are right around the corner is important. There were internships I applied for that I wasn’t accepted to, and I wish I just brushed it off. I’m a strong believer that when one door closes, another opens.
Get involved. College is an important time to explore your interests. Go through your campus club database and write down the organizations you want to be involved with. I suggest having a mix between professional organizations and clubs that pertain to your interests. Attend their general interest meetings at the beginning of the semester and talk with members of the executive board to get a better understanding of what each club has to offer. Remember that you can pick and choose which clubs to do every semester/year. It can be easy to want to join everything, but being a dedicated member for a select few organizations will go a long way.
Why organizations/clubs are important:
- Resume/portfolio building
- Expand network of students
- Alumni events
- Leadership positions
- Learn new skills/gain knowledge