Top 10 Goals For College Students

May 13, 2015 in Alive Campus, Top 10 Lists

College Goals

College Goals

It’s important to set goals for ourselves throughout college. It’s even more important to push ourselves to actually pursue those goals. I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 goals I feel all college students should aim to work towards, either in preparation of the real world or simply as a form of accomplishment for themselves.

1. Get a 4.0 at least once. This is a hard thing to do, but not impossible. Even if you can only manage to get straight As one semester out of eight, that’s a huge accomplishment in itself and something to be proud of. Set a goal for yourself at the beginning of the semester if you know it’s manageable. But if you’re taking Organic Chemistry, it’s probably best to wait until an easier semester.

2. Find an internship. By junior year, you should start looking for an internship to gain some real world experience in your field. It’ll give you substantial clarification if your major is the right choice for you. Chances are it will also lead to great connections that will assist you in your job search after you graduate, in addition to making your resume just a little more impressive to companies.

3. Meet your bridesmaids/ groomsmen. In other words, find a close group of friends you know you won’t lose touch with after you graduate. College is the time to develop amazing friendships that will last beyond walking across the stage at graduation. A handful of the people you meet should be the ones that you envision in your wedding party years down the road.

4. Learn how to grocery shop. Living on your own means you have to grocery shop instead of running to Chipotle every night. This doesn’t mean easy mac and ramen noodles should be your go-to meals on weeknights. You should be buying a variety of food groups at the grocery store once a week so you have plenty of nutritious food to make for yourself.

5. Cook healthy meals at least 4 times a week. It’s better to start taking care of your body earlier than later. If you know how to cook a healthy meal in college, then you’re doing it right. If not, look up some affordable and easy recipes that will keep you on track to staying healthy and avoiding fast food almost every night of the week. It will eventually catch up to you, so why not start adopting healthier habits now. You’ll thank yourself down the road, but always remember to treat yourself at least once a week.

6. Join at least one campus organization. This is always a great resume enhancer and also the perfect way to meet friends that share similar interests as you. For example, if you’re an English major, check out the campus magazine or newspaper.

7. Find a part-time job. It’s always a plus to make some extra spending money in college rather than relying on your parents. Plus, it’s a great addition to a resume that exemplifies time management and responsibility to prospective companies you may be applying for down the road.

8. Travel. This can either mean study abroad or simply take trips with your friends, whether that’s on a cruise, to Disney, or a short road trip. Whatever the case, find time to treat yourself to a vacation and break free from the stress of college. Those vacation days will slowly start to disappear once the weekends are your only “summer break.”

9. Learn how to dress professionally. Chances are, you will have to go on plenty of interviews during your post-graduation job search, so it’s beneficial to know ahead of time how to go about doing this. Invest in some work attire that’s age appropriate so you’re not completely lost the night before your interview.

10. Save money. College is a good time to start budgeting yourself rather than spending money on a new outfit for the themed party you have on Saturday night. Every little bit of money saved is a step closer to learning how to manage your money and spend it according to what is needed rather than wanted.

What Are You Working For?

November 7, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Career, Travel

College is a very scary idea for incoming freshman. You are excited to start your journey, of course, but you fear failure. By the time you’re done with your first semester, you know exactly what you personally have to do to succeed and begin to realize that you have a lot of free time. If you’re anything like me, you’ll spend your free time in your first 2 years at college drinking, because why not? Now that I am in my last year of college, I regret all the free time I wasted. I could have been working or doing an internship, not stumbling around dorm halls and forgetting to complete assignments.

Part of this delayed realization could be due to the fact that I was pretty directionless in those years. I had always been very interested in the behind-the-scenes aspect of filmmaking, so I declared a major that was most closely associated with that. But what did I want to do with this degree? Well, in hindsight, I can give advice on this topic: pick up an internship. It looks good on resumes, and it’ll help you narrow down what you are interested in pursuing for a career.

Not ready to jump in the workforce and put that degree to use? Me neither. If you’re in this category, make a plan. Set some goals. Follow a dream. The only person stopping you from doing what you want to do is you. I know how cheap and overused that sounds, but it’s true. I decided last year that I want to move to from Massachusetts to New Orleans after I graduate this year. Do I have a plan of what I’m going to do when I get there? No. Do I have a plan of how to get there? Yes. I work at a busy restaurant waiting tables, and put a set amount of my tips away each week into a savings account. By graduation, I will have saved up enough to get me down there and settled in, before job hunting.

Do I enjoy waiting tables? Balancing the job with school work? Missing out on all the stuff my friends do while I work weekend nights? No, not at all. I actually hate it very much. But I look back and realize that I had an awesome 3 years of college already, and that this is what I need to do to accomplish a goal I set for myself. If I want to make this move happen, I have to work hard for it. And that’s what I’m doing.

So, that’s it. (It’s probably the only time I’ll ever write some kind of an advice post.) Working while you’re at school is going to suck. There’s just no way around it. But you need to make it worth your while. Is it helping to fund a dream of your’s, like mine? Is it helping to pay for your car payments? Cell phone bill? Is it going to help pay off some of your student loans? Then in the end it’s worth it. People always get sad when they think about the end of college. “The best years of your life are over,” they’ll say. To me, why does the party have to stop? Next stop, New Orleans.

Tips to Landing Your Perfect Internship

September 19, 2014 in Alive Campus, Career

This summer I interned at NASA Langley Research Center.  I thought it was a dream that a Communication Studies major from small Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia would every have the opportunity intern at a place like NASA.  Needless to say, I had the best summer of my life, doing things I never thought I would ever get to do, while also receiving internship credit and learning new things about myself personally and professionally.  Because of that, for my article this week I thought I would give some tips on how you too, can land your perfect internship.

  • Prepare-  Prepare before you start applying for internships.  Ask your peers about their internships and find out the good and the bad.  Then, search online and do your research on different types of internships (like paid and unpaid) and start making a list of the ones you really want.  Have your list include internships that you know you can get and have it range to internships that might be long shots too.  Also, pay attention to what the internship duties are, where it is, and how it can help you with your future career.
  • Experience-  Make sure that you join a club, organization, or get a job, so that you can have leadership experience under your belt.  This experience will help you in interviews, make you more qualified, and is always a great addition to your resume. Experience is also good because these are the types of places you can find references to write you letters of recommendation.
  • Engage-  Once you have done your research and have found your perfect internship, engage with the company, but don’t be a bother or seem desperate.  Make your name known to the company and show your interest.  Also, pay attention to their mission and start to reflect that in your own life.
  • Network-  Meet and talk with people that you may never had talk to before.  Every person can be the next link to your perfect internship and you may never know it!  Also, attend networking events, job fairs, and get to know people while you are there.  Introduce yourself to everyone and keep business cards in your wallet or purse just in case. Pay attention to the little things, because the little things count!
  • Work Hard-  Work hard with everything you do.  Whether it is running a 5K or volunteering, this is the type of work ethic that places looking for interns want.  They want people who make hard work not just something a person does when they need to do it, but someone who makes it something they do everyday and at everything.
  • Study Up- Grades can often come in the way between people and landing their perfect internship.  Remember, that your grades aren’t everything, but they sure do mean something.  Most companies do not even consider your application depending on your grade point average and most of the best internships seek the best and brightest of students.
  • Apply-  Apply to the list of internships you made.  Do not be afraid to apply for easy and hard internships.  Also, apply for a wide range of internships and make sure that when you apply, you apply on time and review your application thoroughly.
  • Reflect-  Once you get an interview, make sure you know about the internship and company you are about to interview for.  Check out their website, review the internship duties, and research their history.  Also, identify your strengths, weaknesses, and what you can do for the company not what they can do for you.  By reviewing all of these aspects, you will be better prepared for the interview.
  • Follow up-  After an interview always follow up!  This is important because not only is it nice, but it makes them know that you are interested and grateful for the opportunity.
Natalie Joseph (me) at my internship at NASA Langley this summer.

Natalie Joseph (me) at my internship at NASA Langley this summer.

Vision-Casting for Your College Years

January 11, 2014 in Academics, Campus Life, Career

Write Down Your Goals!

Write Down Your Goals!

Before I came to Emerson, everyone always told me that in college “time flies” and it “goes by so fast.” I didn’t take these words seriously, but I blinked and now I’m a junior and with only three semesters left. College DOES go by really fast, and while finals and the weeks prior always seems to drag out terribly, as soon as they’re over we all say we can’t believe how fast this semester went by, and this is “for sure, the fastest semester I’ve had so far.” 

As students, it is easy to look at our four years of college and think of it as our last chance to be “kids,” without full-time jobs, without having to be “responsible.” I know I’ve acted this way at times. And there is nothing wrong with taking advantage of your college years and doing fun things and living it to the fullest. But college is not mainly our last chance at being kids; it is mainly preparation for the rest of our lives. Here are a few of my resolutions for the rest of my time as a student:

Enjoy my schoolwork: I can’t always force myself to enjoy the seemingly endless amounts of homework, but instead of trying to just get done as quick as possible, I can apply myself to LEARN as much as possible while doing my work. I can think of it as a privilege to learn rather than something I just have to do.

Spend my free time productively: Probably the most common phrase I hear from myself and other students is “I’m so tired.” It’s part of the college package to be tired. Classes plus homework plus part-time job plus maybe an internship is going to equal being tired. For me, it’s so easy when I have free time to just want to collapse onto my bed and nap or watch a movie to zone out and forget about everything I have to do, and there are definitely times when that’s what we need. But I want to spend my free time reading more, going to school events, exercising, and being productive. I don’t want to look back on my time in college and realize that there were so many things I could have done if I had just decided to DO them and not watched a movie.

Be more involved on campus: It’s important not to be so wrapped up in our own little worlds that we never get to know or invest in others around us. Join a student run organization and pour yourself into something you care about on campus!

As young people, it is important to cultivate VISION and goals for our lives. It only gets harder as we get older, so now is the time to learn how to discipline yourself to fulfill your goals. If you make goals and accomplish them in just one area of your life, it will definitely affect other areas of your life as well. For example, if you decide to exercise five days a week and actually do it, you will find you have more energy and be healthier and have a clearer mind, and that will positively affect your moods and your ability to do homework. Or if you decide to be really diligent in your homework, it will probably help you become more organized in other areas of your life. 

So make goals. Where do you want to be in five years? Ten years? Think about all the different categories of your life: physical fitness, career, education, relationships. What do you want to have accomplished? Write them down and find someone to keep you accountable. You may not reach all of your goals, but I guarantee that by setting goals you will accomplish more than if you didn’t do any vision casting at all.