College Guide: Incoming Freshman and Seniors

College is a period of time filled with new experiences, new friends, and challenges. It can feel that accomplishing an undergraduate degree is jumping in head first, but it doesn’t have to be like that. The anxieties for first-year students and seniors are the same: the fear of the unknown. This college guide is to provide a sense of relief for students just starting their first semesters and for seniors perfecting their resume.

  1. Interviews, Interviews, Interviews:

Job interviews are the last thing on the minds of first-year students because their time in college seems so infinite, but it doesn’t hurt to know the basics early. Simply having a strong handshake, making great eye contact, and developing good conversational skills can separate you from the pack. These basics are great for pursuing jobs, internships, volunteer work or even just extracurricular clubs — they can always be used.

Seniors might have the basics down, but perfecting a resume is a lifelong skill. Look at your four years and see what you’ve done that makes you a top contender during job interviews. Focus on experiences that show leadership skills, focus on your major and show a diverse background of activities. Remember to keep the resume to 1 page unless specifically advised otherwise, for a particular job listing. Most employers are looking through 10 to 50 resumes at once and usually won’t have the time to read a 5-page resume.

It’s ideal to begin working on those basic skills and building a resume from your first year. However, starting later or even senior year is okay since these skills will continue to be strengthened long after college.

 

   2. Use Your Resources:

Understanding what resources your college offers can make the experience more enjoyable. These resources are for students to make college life a smooth transition for first-years and seniors.

  1. Career Development Office: Most universities have an office dedicated to perfecting resumes, internships, volunteer opportunities, etc. As a new student, get familiar with the office see what they offer and what to look out for. For seniors, if you’re confused on what career direction to go after undergrad this office can help with that.

  2. Academic Advisors: An academic advisor is someone who helps with picking out courses and making sure you’re on the right path to graduate on time. Different advisors have different advising styles, so if an advisor isn’t working for you, it’s completely okay to request a change.

    1. Seniors, make sure that you’re in good standing with credits! There are horror stories of seniors who were ready to graduate, but found out that they needed one more class - then had to take an extra semester.

  3. Tutoring/Learning Center: Colleges provide tutoring centers for students who are struggling in courses. Most tutors are students who excel in these topics that are willing to help. First-years and seniors are able to use this resource to have the best grades possible.

These are only three of the more important resources available, but there’s so many more. Go around campus and ask questions, it’ll only help you in the long run.

3. Take Care of Your Mental Health:

College can be such a stressful place with a lot of responsibilities — courses, extracurricular activities and part-time jobs — mental health can be least of your priorities. There are many ways to perform self-care during these four years that you may not have access to once you’re done with school.

  1. Counseling: Most universities provide counseling services that are paid through tuition. It can be extremely freeing to have a professional to just listen and help guide you on a healthier path.

  2. Break a Sweat: Use that gym to your advantage! Had a tough day with classes? Let it out during a Zumba class or even just running on the treadmill.

  3. Get Those Eight Hours: Pulling all-nighters is not necessary all the time. Sleep is so necessary for mental and physical well-being. Depriving yourself of eight hours of sleep at night will only make you feel worse.  

So, incoming students: enjoy these moments because it goes by so quickly! And seniors: those fears are valid. College can be a wonderful time to build lifelong friends, learn about yourself and to cultivate independence, no matter what stage you’re in. This is only one chapter out of many in life and you should enjoy it to the fullest.