What are the best jobs for college students? What can you do in school so that figuring out what to do after college is easier?
I moved to a college town in September (7 years too late) and have been enjoying the random experiences that pop up. I’ve been chatting and sharing drinks with friends and relatives that are much younger than me. A common theme seems to be a complete lack of information of what to actually do in college to be successful after college.
I try to help as much as I can, but I’m not the best person to ask as I worked full-time in school and never really got the full college experience. I probably should’ve created a better balance. I’m sure I would’ve done far less binge drinking if I wasn’t always so stressed at the end of the week.
How can you finish college without being screwed for the rest of your 20s?
I’ve come to the conclusion from my own experiences and those of others, that the best job in college you can have is to set yourself up for life after college. There are many ways that you can make life easier for yourself when you’re done with school. My favorite suggestions are:
- Work full-time or find work terms so that you graduate debt free. This also allows you to gain valuable experience in the field.
- Start an online business so that you have money coming and don’t have to rush to work. You don’t have to accept the first job that comes your way.
- Land a juicy gig while still in the comfort of college so that you’re not stranded after you’re out of school.
I recently found an article that goes over creating a plan in school. The Wall Street Journal posted a four year game plan for students. I really enjoyed this piece and wanted to summarize it with some of my own thoughts for how-to master college and finish with a bright future.
Freshman year : money for college students is very tight.
You’re just starting college. Money is tight. You’re experiencing freedom for the first time. You’re all over the place. You’re not really sure about what to do. What does the article suggest?
- Find a mentor.
- Learn how to speak in public and write.
- Check out career services.
I wish that I had found a mentor early on in my life. A mentor will help you as a clueless college student trying to figure things out. You can find a mentor to help you with school or career advice. You can also just find an older friend that can help you with your social skills. Either way, I wish that I found a true mentor and worked on my public speaking skills right off the bat.
The truth is that I did plenty of public speaking in my first year. Being a business student, we had to do presentations for every class. The only problem is that I sucked at it and never made a conscious effort to get better at public speaking until much later in life.
Sophomore year : make life easier for yourself.
You can really make life easier for yourself now.
- Learn about accounting and personal finance.
- Meet some alumni.
- Become active with a team or some sort of a group.
Saving money isn’t easy. This is why I suggest that you slowly look into picking up the basics. You can sign up for a free checking account, pay yourself first, or figure out ways to make more money.
It also helps to meet some alumni and fellow students by joining some sort of group. The good news is that there are so many groups on campus that you can find one that’s right for you.
Junior year : where internships for college students happen.
Time to work in the real world. The goal at this point is to find an internship. The main problems to tackle at this time in college are:
- Network with alumni.
- Look for an internship.
Senior year : make some big moves.
Now it’s time to get really serious. You’re almost done. By this point your alcohol tolerance should be high. Time for the final moves.
- Fix up your resume and cover letter.
- Meet with alumni about finding work.
- Go for mock job interviews.
The main theme of your final year should be to guarantee a job for once you’ve completed your studies. You don’t have to spend all of your time on your job hunt. You just have to try to squeeze in some time to brush up that resume, meet with folks in the field, and to get ready for real interviews.
Oh and before you ask me about my college run, the answer is that I didn’t do all of this. The goal of this article is to share ideas with anyone about to start college. You don’t have to stress yourself out about applying all of these tips at once. You can slowly try to throw in one of these tips over time. There’s no rush. You still have to find time to have some drinks.
I really do hope that this article reaches enough younger folks and that more college graduates are prepared for what’s next. Good luck to all college students!