Making the Most of Your College Career

June 12, 2014 by  


Success for only $10,000 a year!

By Courtney Pennington-Krygier, TMO

417030wOpjL._SY300_One of the most perplexing phrases I heard in freshman year was ‘college career.’ Career, I thought, was an overstatement. My family was paying ridiculous amounts of money for me to sit still and nod off during lectures.  Before long, I came to realize how many incredible opportunities there are for students.

First off, college is a great way to get a first job. The only downside is that often, university jobs are temporary, or slash hours during academic breaks.  However, these jobs are extremely forgiving for the most part.  Universities create jobs specifically for students.  Employees will also get more flexible schedules than they would anywhere else.

As for jobs, there are employment fairs and resources everywhere!  As usual, I’ll speak about Arizona State specifically because that’s what I’m familiar with.  You can find career fairs for almost any field around the year.  It is actually annoying how many I am get invited to.

There’s a job search site, which allows you to look for university opportunities as well as external jobs.  There’s even internship and volunteer fairs, for students who want to bulk up their resume!  I found my first full-time job from a career fair, and let me tell you, paying careers in the nonprofit field are rarer than a raw burger.

Never, ever pass up a volunteer opportunity.  It’s not just about doing good.  Employers regard volunteer experience just like employment- if you volunteered consistently over a long time period.  If your student is in a club, maybe he could volunteer to be treasurer.  There you go; leadership experience and budgeting skills you can put on a resume.

Volunteering can also be a great way to sample a career.  I tried out donation sorting and procurement as volunteer positions.  These are things I could have done with my career, which I thought I would enjoy as a job.  A few shifts set me straight.

Volunteering can be a great way to relieve stress while building experience.  Your student may be able to find something he or she loves to do, like reading to children.  If they volunteer consistently, it becomes an experience you can put on a resume.  Because volunteering is less demanding than work, it’s perfect for students.  If you need to miss a shift to study, volunteer coordinators are usually very understanding.

You may think that work during college may be overwhelming.  I have known people who worked 50 hour weeks and an internship while in full time classes.  That person was also using a lot of drugs, so perhaps that’s not the best example.  However, I worked up to 35 hours some weeks, and volunteered frequently, while a full-time student.  You can bet I was clean, too.  Working will increase a student’s stress, but it teaches them invaluable time management skills.

Work is also the only way a young person learns to value money.  This is the best way to teach your student how much textbooks really cost.  Tuition is an unfathomable number until you receive your first paycheck.  I guarantee your child will appreciate whatever support you’re providing much more once they have to control their own money.

As for recreation, there’s so many options it’s hard to count.  Many clubs are as easy to start as finding another two members and a faculty sponsor.  Once you’re officially registered, you can apply for grants to fund your activities.  There have been taco clubs, Grand Canyon clubs, outdoor adventure clubs, brony clubs (for adult male enthusiasts of My Little Pony), language and cultural clubs, clubs based around your major, college, or dorm, clubs for particular dances and bands… it’s endless.  When your child feels bored, she can join five clubs while sitting in her dorm room and figure out which one she loves later.

In short, your student is not making the most of his time if he doesn’t work or volunteer occasionally.  Bachelor’s degrees are becoming more common.  Your child will need more than his diploma to impress an employer, and adding variety to his resume through extracurricular involvement and part-time work is just the way to do it.

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