5 Awesome Ways to Prep For Your Career While in College

12 Sep

Okay, so we’re in college. And all we really want to do is lounge around, skip class, hang out with our friends, and stalk fraternity boys.

But NO.

We’re told we can’t do that.

Instead, we’re told that we need to be “preparing for our futures”.

And how are we supposed to do that?

Oh, well, by interning and updating our resumes and attending corporate lectures about how to interview properly, etc., etc., more boring stuff, etc.

Okay, fine. I guess to a certain degree those are all decent ways to prepare for your career.

HOWEVER…

I think there have to be better ways to do that.

Here are some:

1. Travel

I don’t care if it takes you five hundred years to graduate school. If you do ANYTHING on this list, please, for the love of God and all things holy…

GO TRAVEL.

“Oh, but I don’t have the money to travel.”

Dude, if I catch you buying new rims for your car instead of going on a trip somewhere, prepare to be slapped.

No, but really, traveling is an amazing way to prepare for your career. Why? Because first of all, traveling helps you to discover so much about yourself. By experiencing time on your own in a new place, you’re taught how to handle yourself in new surroundings and ***newsflash*** in the workforce, the most successful people are the ones who know how to do just that.

They know how to adapt and survive.

Not to mention the fact that traveling gives you something to talk about with pretty much anyone. When you enter the workforce, until you get used to it, going to networking events and talking to your peers is going to be kind of…awkward.

You might feel like a loser with zero social skills.

You might in fact BE a loser with zero social skills.

BUT if you’ve traveled, you’ll have something to talk about and you won’t have to deal with those brutally awkward moments of silence.

You know how people with pets LOVE to talk about their animals?

Well, people who’ve traveled LOVE to talk about their experiences.

So do yourself a favor and if you ever have the opportunity to travel or to study abroad, do it. Please.

2. Join a Random Club

Yes, a random one. I don’t care what it is. Create one if you have to.

Point is, while in college, venture out of your comfort zone. Pick up a new hobby that you enjoy doing. Learn a new skill that you’d never thought of learning before. Teach yourself how to acquire new skills quickly because in the workforce, the people who advance in their careers know how to do this. A lot.

3. Reconnect With Old Friends

Remember that guy you sat next to in seventh grade who you thought was a total nerd?

Yea, call him up. Facebook message him. Ask him how he’s doing.

Then, do the same for all your old contacts.

I’m pretty sure that it’s safe to say that by the time we enter college, we’ve lost touch with most of our elementary and middle school friends. We may have even lost touch with our friends from our freshman year in high school.

One of the best ways that you can prepare for your career while in college is to work on building your network. The more people you know, the better. Yes, I’m sorry, most of the time, it’s about who you know. So know a lot of people.

Cultivate meaningful relationships because you never know who or what you’re going to need in the future.

Oh, and that nerd you sat next to? He might be kind of hot now.

4. Date 

Date a lot.

“Oh, but I don’t have time to date because I need to be studying so that I can get a 4.0 GPA so I can get the best job when I graduate.”

Sorry, I don’t buy it.

Dating in college is just as important as studying for a test.

Before you think I’m completely crazy, hear me out.

When you date people, first of all, you get to know yourself. You get to know what you like, what you don’t like, what interests you, and what doesn’t.

But most importantly, dating teaches you that sometimes things don’t work out.

I mean, sometimes you date someone for a while and then you realize that they aren’t the right fit. So you break up.

And it’s hard and it’s devastating and you cry.

Then you get back together for a day. Then you break up again and you cry some more.

But you know what? This is kind of a good thing.

Because the more comfortable you become with recognizing what works for you and what doesn’t, the easier it’ll  be for you to find your dream job.

Why?

Because jobs are like boyfriends and girlfriends.

And you should never settle.

5. Become Friends with a Weirdo 

Yes, we all know someone or some people who we consider to be weirdos.

GO BE FRIENDS WITH THEM!!

It’s imperative that we learn early on in life how to interact with people who aren’t like us.

For instance, I grew up attending private Catholic school and I’ll never forget that day, during my first year at work, when I was setting up the Christmas tree in the office.

One of my co-workers mentioned that she didn’t celebrate Christmas.

Whaaaaat?

Who doesn’t celebrate Christmas?

What kind of grinch is she?

Oh, she’s Jewish.

Epic fail.

A lot of times we forget that people are different from us. People think differently, they have different views, and they have different interests.

And that’s okay!

But the thing is that we’re not used to that. We’re used to surrounding ourselves with people just like us.

To prepare for your career, learn how to socialize with people that you wouldn’t usually associate with. It’s a great skill to have.

Because I promise you, in your career, you won’t get to pick the people you work with and the better you are at interacting with diverse personalities, the more successful you will be.

So just do yourself a favor and spend some time in college NOT stressing about studying and going to career fairs. Instead, learn a little bit more about yourself, other people, and the world around you. Those lessons are far more valuable.

A much better return on investment.

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21 Responses to “5 Awesome Ways to Prep For Your Career While in College”

  1. Maia September 12, 2012 at 4:58 am #

    I absolutely agree that it’s so important to figure yourself out as soon as possible. I definitely had some interesting experiences in college and it was the time of my life. All of this added to me finding my dream job relatively soon after graduating. With that said, I know that I will have many ”dream jobs” in my lifetime, but it all comes back to finding yourself first.

  2. The Staffing Man September 12, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

    Great post!

  3. parmanifesto September 13, 2012 at 2:32 am #

    Networking is pretending to be interested in everything, then realizing everything is interesting.

    This is why I am not a networker. Because I’m really only interested in peanut butter. Maybe I’m just hungry right now.

  4. learnactshare - Pete Ferguson September 13, 2012 at 8:40 am #

    Great post Kayla. Constantly opening your mind to new possibilities, people, and experiences helps in living a very enriching life. Having been where you are, I would recommend 1-2 other steps.

    #1 Stay (or Get) Out of Debt! I could, and probably will, fill up many blogs on the opportunities I had to furlough because my wife and I had to dig out of debt. We are back on track now and having a lot of fun, but the tradeoff wasn’t worth it and for several years we had to postpone a lot of travel and fun while we caught up. Only having a house payment – that should be deep-sixed in three years – allows for a lot of freedom and flexibility.

    The second one fits into several of your points – constantly look for new books, podcasts, documentaries, etc. that are very random. It allows you to explore areas you wouldn’t even know to explore. Use your “NET” time (commuting, working out, walking, etc) to multitask and learn as much as you can. There are times when you just need to crank up the music and unwind, but during the other times, make the most of the opportunity.

  5. rachelmeeks September 13, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

    This is the second blog I’ve read today saying GO TRAVEL RACHEL! Ahh, just have to hold on until my graduation trip in December…. yay!

    Love the picture at the top of the post, too. :)

  6. Sonu September 14, 2012 at 9:18 am #

    GO Travel! Oh baby i soo LOVE that one! I love travelling ! During my university, i travelled around India a lot, and once i graduated… I took a year off for that! Its a brilliant experience! Nothing equals this one!

    Dating tho, is still something I have to do! :( … perhaps soon! :)

  7. farfromidle September 15, 2012 at 11:55 pm #

    Great post! I would like to add one as well. Start a business. Nothing is better than beginning your own business while in college. There is much easier access to resources & even if it fails, you will learn a lot in the process. Besides, since college is like Disney World having some real world experience never hurts. Being in the real world is drastically different than college. I look forward to reading more of your work. Thanks for following my blog!

    • Kate Swaffer September 17, 2012 at 2:18 am #

      starting a business is also a great thing to do to ‘find your way’…

  8. Kate Swaffer September 17, 2012 at 2:18 am #

    Great blog post lostgenygirl… but I definitely don’t think you are LOST at all. SO much wisdom for one so young. Keep it coming!

  9. thelostkerryman September 17, 2012 at 4:51 am #

    About the dating thing- if I had to do it all over again, I’d be a whole lot less selective. A date is an experience. Sadly, I haven’t had many lately.

  10. futuredoll September 17, 2012 at 11:07 am #

    So excited to read a new post from you! I love your insights & my biggest regret is not studying for the semester abroad in Rome (Loyola of Chicago). I would like to re-post your blog if that is okay?

    • Kayla Cruz September 17, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

      Aww thanks! I know, I never did it either so now I’m saving up to go to Europe next summer! And yes, of course, feel free to share. Thanks for reading! :D

  11. futuredoll September 17, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    Reblogged this on College Savings Dolls.

  12. futuredoll September 17, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    Thanks love to backlink with you-we write about the same things except you add a fun younger twist on ideas! Let me know-sarahdugo@collegesavingsdolls.com

  13. lautal September 17, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

    100% agree! Lovely post!

  14. John September 17, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

    #5) Hilarious! And totally agree on the importance of it. Traveling also helps with learning about and understanding other cultures. Sometimes we (Americans) can be pretty close minded when it comes to other countries. We forget the majority of them have been around a lot longer and got some sage advice to be heard.

  15. Laurie Barkman September 17, 2012 at 9:25 pm #

    The one thing I didn’t do when I was younger, that I wish I had, was travel, travel, travel! My daughter is now at that point in her life where she can travel and thank goodness, she will do it. Taking time to travel is not putting off growing up; it’s about becoming who you are, about expanding your mind, your soul and your experiences. Grab the opportunity before kids, mortgages and other responsibilities reduce or shorten the adventures.

  16. Steve Borek October 9, 2012 at 11:17 am #

    I waited two years before going to college. I decided to major in Accounting and Finance. I didn’t trust my gut which was to go into the “helping people” business.

    I loved accounting though couldn’t see myself behind a desk the rest of my life. One job as a cost accountant taught me this lesson. So, I took my love for debits and credits and sold accounting apps on computers.

    Twenty some odd years later, I found my calling: Executive and Leadership Coaching.

    p.s. I’m offering a brand new 12 week program based on finding your “who” specifically for careers. Stay tuned.

  17. broadsideblog October 10, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

    Great tips. A life-changing experience while in college was an exchange program between U of Toronto (my alma mater) and UNC Chapel Hill. I’d been to the US many times, but had never spent a full week in the South, nor gotten to know some Southern women. I learned a lot and it really opened my eyes to some of the country’s racial divisiveness. Travel is THE single best tip — as long as it’s not just to cushy resorts and requires a passport.

    I would add two other tips: freelance and do informational interviewing. Both are a lower stress way to test-drive some careers and interests. When you freelance you’ll quickly see how disciplined and motivated you are! And II will teach you a lot about different fields before you waste time and money on studying them or working in them.

  18. Jillian October 12, 2012 at 1:05 am #

    All the best advice ever. Especially number one. ^.^

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