This post is dedicated to the over dedicated, spread thin, hand-in-every-pot, yes-people. I feel your pain. I know what it is like to want to do everything and be everywhere. I know what it is like to have so many conflicting things that you want to do you wish you could clone yourself and be everywhere at once. I know what it is like to miss a bus and have it throw off your whole day. This post is for you all.
One major lesson I learned this semester was quality over quantity. It is much better to be awesome at a few things than be mediocre at a lot of things.
When I became a junior and was accepted into my major, I learned that I needed to be more forward focused and start thinking about my life after undergrad and what that could look like. Now is definitely the time to start honing in on what would help you potentially get into your field or what could add to your resume for graduate school.
By honing in this means consciously picking very specific experiences that will make you a more competitive candidate for the future. Here, at the University at Albany one of our large scale initiatives is based around Applied Learning – gaining experiences related to our field, outside of the classroom. Again, taking advantage of these opportunities makes you extremely more competitive and helps set you apart from other applicants.
Now you may ask what does honing in look like? Honing in would be going from four or five part time jobs to one or two. Again it is important to think about what you are good at, what you enjoy doing, and what will propel you into your future.
Check in your department and see if there are opportunities to have an internship. Internships are a great springboard into making yourself more competitive for the future. Internships help you gain experience in a field or position that you may be interested in. Make sure you are taking control over your experience, if you become an intern for an organization, ask a lot of questions, figure out what each person’s role in the work place and see what interests you the most. Ask to assist in tasks or projects that you believe may be interesting. This may be difficult depending on the field you are going into. Some internships allow you to have more responsibilities than others.
Internships can also turn into job offers if all things go well! The best time to do internships is anytime in your collegiate career, but when do them in your Junior or Senior year they can turn into permanent job offers if you leave a positive impression on your coworkers and supervisor.
Internships can also help you find out what you do not want to do in your field. You may have a career field in mind and after completing an internship you may realize that you did not enjoy the experience and you may change your mind in terms how what type of work you wish to do in your career field nonetheless change your entire field. If you start an internship and realize you do not like it– it is okay. The whole point behind internships is exposure; it is better for you find out now that you do not enjoy something opposed to getting a degree and then get into your field and realize you do not like it, but you are stuck because you have bills to pay.
Internships are also great way to get recommendations for the future from someone who you have worked with and also works in your current field. While at these internships you can identify a person and ask them to be your mentor. A mentor is a person who has experience in what you are interested in and can help advise you toward getting to where you would like to go.
If your department does not have an internship program check out the Community and Public Service Program. You can volunteer with organizations for 35, 60, or 100 hours. This program can be used as an opportunity to learn more about your desired field. Also this program has a great comprehensive list of organizations around the Capital District if you are unfamiliar or do not know where to start.
College is known as a time of experimentation and growth but also let us not forget to also plan for the future as it is right around the corner.