How Slowing Down In College Can Actually Help You Plan Ahead!
Tips for de-stressing your life and becoming more effective.
By: Chantel Burkes, Houston Community College
When people talk about the college experience, the first thing that pops to your head is the nights out and partying. Sorry everyone, but that is not what I am talking about here. I am talking about the amount of stress we put on ourselves during the semester planning out what we are doing NEXT semester and how it will help us land a prime career after we graduate. I think that every student is constantly thinking about school, jobs, internships and our social life while at school. However, is the constant worrying and planning hurting our chances of landing our dream job when graduation rolls around? Sometimes you have to slow down to get the opportunities that may lead you into your future career.
Take It One Semester At A Time
Every semester we go through a process of stress and it becomes a normal for us to be stressed from the first couple weeks of class all the way till finals week. Attending class, completing assignments, taking tests, maintaining study schedules and having late nights end up taking over our lives. With that amount of stress, we also expect ourselves to be able to hold down a meaningful job and possibly a professional internship at the same time. Most would say that it is doable and that they have to do that to get a job after graduation. However, how much is either side benefiting from this arrangement? You aren’t at your best when you are like this and your employer is not getting the best person you can be. You could be missing out on valuable experience and knowledge and the amount of stress you put into the job may not match the experience you are getting out of it. Just like with jobs, there is such a thing as having a wasteful internship. Don’t just do it to fill your resume because that one useless internship may be the factor that lowers a needed grade and starts another chain of stressful thoughts.
One Missed Opportunity Will Not Make Or Break You
Everyone has had a time when they have studied all night for an exam and after waking up in the morning you realize that the alarm never went off and you completely missed it. The same might goes for an internship opportunity. These accidents will not ruin your chances completely and everyone should realize that. In the moment, it always seems like the world is ending and you can see your GPA disintegrating before your eyes.
When you don’t get the dream internship you wanted, it does not mean that you are not fit for that line of work. It could mean that there were older and more qualified people who also wanted the opportunity and no one should stress over it. The position will still be there come next semester and you could manage to get it then. Don’t let those small setbacks affect how you handle the rest of your semester. Just because the opportunity was missed does not mean that another isn’t right around the corner for you to grab. Would you rather be the intern that was just there because it would look good on his or her resume or would you rather be the intern that went above and beyond because they weren’t swamped with work?
Campus Jobs Can Be Just As Important
EVERY job is important, no matter how insignificant it seems at the time. A job in the library on campus is just as important as an internship under the President of the University. No matter the choice, you are going into the experience trying to learn everything you can. That important internship may look nice on your resume, but it could mean wasted time in an area that doesn’t impact you at all. You could end up fetching coffee or answering the phone instead of putting that time to good use. The job in the library could actually benefit you more than that internship you chose. For example, most libraries allow you to study in the down time between your tasks or if things are slow. Staff and students are passing through numerous times a day and the time that would have been spent manning the coffee machine is now being used to have a conversation with your fellow professors. The more you speak with them, the more likely you will get a deeper insight into the class and possibly a character reference if you follow up with him after your conversation and keep in touch. Even the simplest jobs can benefit you in the long run.
Missing A Party Is Not The End Of Your Social Life
I myself had problems with this point when I began college: your social life will not end. Ever. Even going to a coffee shop to study with friends means you have a social life, so there is no danger of it ending. Just because you have to miss a party one Thursday to study does not mean that you will never get invited to another party. There is always something going on and there is always a time that the biggest party animal on campus is going to need to miss something to study. Your ultimate goal in college is to get a degree and endangering that dream just to go to one of the numerous parties that are going on is a disappointing thing. Get rid of that anxiety and realize that it has to happen eventually. You never know, you may even enjoy the peace and quiet when everyone is gone.
One Bad Grade Will Not End Your Dreams
Every single student on the face of the earth has that one class that they do not click with at all. That one grade is not going to ruin you and you do not need to stress over it. One bad grade is not going to end your chances getting the dream job that you want. Look at it this way: After you graduate from college, how long is it before you start taking your GPA off of your resume? It is a couple of years at most before it becomes insignificant and the time you spent stressing over it turns into wasted time. One of my communications professors once told me that the ability to do the work is more important than the GPA you rocked when you graduated. Just because someone has a 3.75 or higher GPA and graduated with Latin honors does not mean that they can work efficiently with others or have the variety of experience that someone with a 2.5 GPA got while experimenting with their jobs and internships over the years. Think of your life in terms of experience, not assignments.
Your College Experience Is Just As Important As Your Resume
Whenever someone talks about the college experience, everyone thinks that they mean the parties, the boys or the social life on campus. My definition of the college experience is how much you grew while at college. Being at college is the only time that you can experiment with what you want to do and just manage your life how you want to. It is that space between your teenage years and becoming a fully independent adult and it can be stressful and frustrating. Go to the opening night of every sport on campus, create your own club or join one that catches your eye. Every moment is an opportunity to learn about yourself and how you handle your life. Taking a dance class at the student union can actually teach you about leadership and working as a team. Learning how to knit can teach you patience and how to carry out long-term goals. Speaking with your professors can show that you are dependable and are open to suggestions. Sometimes slowing down can be the best thing for you and can help you remain steady and confident while going after the things that you want!