College is reportedly the best four years of your life. Television and movies make it seem as though it will be a party every weekend, and that you will spend the majority of your time dealing with relationships or drama. A common mistake is believing that these four years will drag out and that you won’t have to worry about the “real world” until you’ve graduated.
If that’s your line of thinking, stop reading, because I am about to burst your happy little bubble of naivety.
You’re behind. The school is literally throwing help at you, and you’re doing what instead? No, I get it. There’s so much stuff to do. Why would I want to better my chances of getting hired when I could be thinking up pranks … oh wait. No. We’re not allowed to prank. Well, I could be partying … no, not that either.
Of course, there’s all the interesting stuff to do just off campus. It’s not like we’re isolated on top of some bluffs surrounded on both sides by towns that only have a population of … well, this just got awkward. I don’t know about you, but the only way I’m ever coming back to a reunion here is if I have an amazing career to brag about.
Luckily for you, I am feeling benevolent and have decided to let you know which extracurricular activities you could be taking advantage of to bolster your résumé. For those of you who are mathematically inclined, you could be a tutor. It doesn’t exactly sound glamorous, but tutoring shows employers that you are able to understand complex math well enough to explain it to people, and it lets them know that you have patience.
There is also the solar car team. This team gets to travel and compete against other schools in a solar car race. The solar car is a great one because they often rank well – even against schools like MIT – and so are mentioned in real-world publications. This means you can mention it to potential employers and there’s a chance they might have heard about it from a syndicated news source. If you need to be convinced of our solar car team’s level of excellence, check out the trophy case in Old Watson.
If you are more of an outdoorsy person, you are in luck. We live on a couple thousand of acres of nature. You can be part of the student crew that keeps our campus looking in top condition. You will also be learning how to keep nature under control without destroying it or doing unnecessary harm. Learn what honeysuckle is and why we despise it, learn how to cut down trees (you can get chainsaw certified!) and learn about controlled burns. This, my dear students, is what employers like to call “practical experience.” There are a lot of campuses that don’t have this setup and are unable to experience nature like we do. And what other college can trump a mammoth dig?
The Voney art studio is a wonderful place that everyone should be aware of. The computers there have Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. These programs are great for helping students interested in graphic design and photography. The best thing is that you can have a professor with experience critique your portfolio so that you have something impressive to show employers.
Don’t forget about the Pilot. You can write articles, which can then be shown to potential employers; another “practical experience” thing. The Pilot also needs photos to go with their articles for you photography folks. There are also plenty of opportunities to practice editing, if that’s what you like to do.
If writing things down isn’t your style, Principia has a radio station. Learn how to work all of the equipment, gain an audience and keep a show going. There’s more to it than playing music. Or, you could even announce for sports games like baseball and softball.
There are so many other things to do, like entering the film festival, participating in a programming competition, working in media services, being a student events planner, organizing the Pan African Conference, or choreographing for Dance Production, just to name a few.
There are also workshops offered that help you learn how to put together a targeted cover letter and résumé. You should be taking advantage of these opportunities because it’s the extra effort you put into your portfolios and resume that is going to help you stand out to employers.
We may be in a school with only around 500 students, and the classes for your major may have 20 to 25 people in it at most. But there are thousands of other students that want the same exact career as you do. Putting forth extra effort to make yourself stand out could be the thing that gets you a job.