Like all other graduates, one day you’ll step out of your college with a degree in your hands and think, “I’m now a graduate. Wait, really?”
You’ll ponder your past and think whether you did all that you should’ve done or wanted to do. At that time, you’ll wish you only did things which you can smile about and not lament.
No one likes to mourn over missed opportunities, regret the lost time, or let the past drag him from moving towards a better future. Especially when he’s on the verge of stepping on a new stage of life.
If you are reading this while you’re in your junior years of college, you’re in luck. If you’re aren’t – that doesn’t matter if you’re still in college.
What if you’re a graduate? Well then, you might get to see some things you might have missed in college in this post.
A statistical analysis to remind you of the value of your college life
The average life expectancy in the world is 70.5 years. So let’s consider that you’ll live that long.
Out of those 70.5 years of your life, you’ll spend about 4 years in Graduation College, which is about 5.6 percent of your total lifetime.
Assuming that you enter your college at the age of 19, you’ll already have spent 35 percent of your life by the time you graduate.
Now, the way you use the 5.6 percent of your college life, decides how you will live the remaining 65 percent of your lifetime.
Obviously this random data doesn’t make sense to some extent, yet, it matters. How you spend your life in college has a lot to do with your life.
A simple thing you must know in college
College is the time when you cherish the last few years of your education. You get busy with your life after that.
What you do in those three to four years remains a deciding factor for your career, personal development and the life which follows it.
So try to make the most out of the time which you get. But another fact is, students fail to utilize their college years. Whatever may be the reason behind it, the most common one is – they don’t know how to.
If you need to know one thing which can inspire you, help you create a better life while you’re in college, allow you to take more risks, and enhance your skills then it’s this – “It isn’t going to be that hard.”
Yep, all awesome things follow this belief!
- Improving your grades doesn’t require you to slog as much as you think.
- Molding your personality will only need you to step out of your comfort zones.
- Becoming a virtuoso in your arena takes only some curiosity and courage.
- You can do the activities you’ve never done if you think less about others’ judgments.
- You need to take slight more effort than usual to stay prepared for your future plans.
Below is a list of 15 things, the important ones, which you must do before you graduate
If you manage to push yourself a bit harder beyond your limits, you can have some of the most beautiful and productive days of your life in college.
1. Find what you’re passionate about
Life gives you the freedom to do your own thing. But of what use is it if you don’t know what your thing is?
Find the one thing you’re crazy about. Find what you could keep on doing without getting tired.
Take some time out to reflect on your interests, and the skills which come to you naturally. Everyone has one thing which he loves more than other activities. You have you own strengths and likes. Work on an activity, learn it as much as you can, dream it and become indomitable at it.
You have less responsibilities in college and more time and resources. There couldn’t be more favorable conditions for you. Do now whatever you want to do. Go ahead, risk it, face you fears, for you don’t have much to lose.
If there’s a right time to follow your passion, it’s now. Start early.
2. Refine your skills
You may have some skills, but they are raw talents unless they have been worked upon. You still have enough time to refine them.
Practice and work hard to polish the skills which you have. Be consistent with what you do and make working on your priorities a ritual.
Have at least one or two things which you’re a master at, and try to be a jack of a lot of other things too. This will help you in becoming a valuable person in your field.
Better if you know what your interests and passions are, for you can always use them as signs while deciding upon an ideal career and hence choose relevant skills to learn.
It’s always better to know what you claim to know.
3. Get an internship
What’s more better than practicing what you learn? Even better when you get paid for doing so.
There’s a reason why ‘internship’ has become a buzzword in colleges and industries. Just in case you’re curious what the reason is – the industry loves experienced people.
Recruiters are always more inclined towards the ones who have a hands-on experience in their field than those who have nothing more than theoretical knowledge.
An internship prepares you for future and gives you a thorough idea about your chosen field.
If you can get an internship while you’re in college, you’ll have one more thing to exhibit and feel proud about.
4. Take up a relevant job
Do a part-time job in your vacations, serve a small business with your skills, get some freelancing gigs, or take up a minor project related to you field.
Any job you do is capable of teaching you the discipline, work ethics, and dedication you’ll need in future. Even if it’s irrelevant.
The job you do is like a badge in your identity. A proof that you’ve done something with what you’ve learned.
By doing a job, you also get something to brag about in your interviews if you manage to find a good one in your college itself.
Be the guy who has already hit the workspace and knows how to make things happen.
5. Participate in competitions
You need something to put in your portfolio. Competitions give you the opportunity to earn such things.
Your self-esteem is directly proportional to what you achieve, learn and do in your college days.
You don’t want to be the guy who doesn’t have anything to put in his portfolio, right?
It’s alright if you aren’t much competitive. You may still give some competitions a try. If you’ve played your part, you’re as much audacious as any other person in the room – you rock!
Jump in random debates, let the quizzes judge your smarts, and make fearless attempts.
It’s not about what you gain by doing these things but what you learn. Participating these little things prepares you for the life ahead of you.
Don’t underestimate the role of these events, they exist to mold your overall personality and improve you.
For example, the elocution competition you might shun and treat as useless, is conducted to make sure that you don’t shiver while giving a presentation or speech in a board meeting of a multinational company.
If you don’t participate, a part of you stays devoid of the growth it was supposed to gain, and you might not even know it.
6. Do some extracurricular activities
Among the most common regrets which students have, whether from high school or graduate college, is that they were being cowards when they could’ve had the most memorable time of their life.
They wish they could’ve been braver and had the courage to face their vulnerabilities. It wouldn’t have been so bad.
Be a part of the next drama, maybe just perform a solo dance, or perhaps, play an instrument.
Don’t fear to be laughed at – the person on stage is always braver than the guy laughing at him in a crowd.
Remember, if you don’t do any extracurricular activities, it’s going to be hard for you to step out of your comfort zone.
Your heart will keep teasing you, saying that you were a scaredy-cat when you were supposed to develop yourself and learn.
“I may have stayed timid in my school, but in college, I’ll do all the great things I can” – make this line your resolution.
Spend some good time you can look back at and smile. Create memories.
Volunteering experience is among those factors which recruiters consider while hiring new candidates. It is one of the ‘cool things’ they look for nowadays.
Although a volunteering experience might not look as enchanting as a job or an internship in your portfolio, it still has a value of its own. A star on the uniform you cannot resist having
It works much like karma – the more good you do, the better things happen to you.
Your volunteering experience shows that you’re eager to participate in activities which bring a change, and to contribute to the society with the talents you possess.
Create graphics for an NGO, buy some foodstuffs to donate to the orphanage, or create your own club of geeks and start a small movement.
Get started somewhere and volunteer. It shows what you are.
8. Take up some certification courses
Firstly, give up the belief that all certification courses are credible. They aren’t.
However, some certificates from certain institutes or classes are more valuable than others. If you’re thinking whether certification courses are that necessary, then know that they are, in some way.
The certificates which you earn with your practice during college signify the amount of time you’ve spent working on your various skills.
Although recruiters might not necessarily think that you’re a god at what you do just because you have a certificate, at least they’ll get a general idea that you’ve learned and spent your days doing what you say you know.
Get certified by reputed institutions well known for their teaching.
9. Perfect yourself
Have you ever envisioned yourself as a grownup in your childhood?
Well, after graduation you are the grownup you had imagined, so make sure that you have become the kind of person you wanted to be.
Develop yourself in all aspects by the time you leave your college, whether it be your soft-skills, work habits, social etiquette or something else. Focus on all the things you wish to add to your personality while you’re in college itself.
Learn guitar, enhance your vocabulary or writing skills, gain a fit body, or grow an ability to deal tactically with people.
Your journey to perfecting yourself may begin anywhere from overcoming your weaknesses, to doing what you’ve always wanted to do.
Here are 3 quick steps to get you started:
- Introspect and reflect on what kind of person you wish to be — the goals you wish to accomplish and the weaknesses you want to overcome.
- Write down the things you can do to achieve your anticipated outcomes – for example, you may start learning HTML if you wish to be a web developer. Also, you may do activities which allow you to step on the stage and diminish your stage-fear.
- Reflect occasionally to make sure you’re on the right track — keep moving.
Come out of your college as a gem and become your best.
10. Use your vacations
There’s never more appropriate time than your vacations, to do what you say you don’t have time for.
You have time in your hands and the freedom to do whatever you wish to do.
You can do all the things mentioned above in your vacations.
Take the classes you don’t usually get time for, learn a new skill, join a volunteer group, take up a part time job, or finish an internship. There’s so much you can do!
If you’re someone who doesn’t get time to have fun in college, then use your vacations for that purpose. Use your vacations productively.
11. Plan ahead for your future
Got some specific plans for your future? Then work on them while you’re in college.
If you wish to join a top-notch post-graduate college which requires you to give an entrance test, then start preparing for that test in college itself.
How would you feel if you graduate and realize that the minimum cut-off is 60 percent and you aren’t eligible? Yeah, it hurts when dreams shatter.
College is the right time to avoid such situations and to plan for the future.
Also, if you have knack for a specific career choice, then work for it through all the years of your college and get better at it.
Make wise decisions and plan ahead.
12. Get a good internet connection
Get a decent connection as early as possible. It’s going to be worth the investment.
If you don’t get one, you may lose your chance of learning other things apart from your academics, or stay dependent only on conventional resources for learning, which forces you to stay unproductive.
You’ll be able to take lessons online, learn new skills, stay updated with online communities, and complete interactive courses.
There’s a lot you can do with a fine internet connection, and there are some added benefits as well.
For example, it can save you from the hassle of taking courses which can be completed independently, and save your time which might be otherwise spent in traveling.
Also, if you fail to afford any learning material, then at least you’ll have the internet on your side.
13. Save money
Although some students form a habit of spending more money in college, we suggest you to do the opposite – save money. Unfortunately, colleges don’t teach the thing called financial literacy, so when it comes to money, you’ll have to rely on yourself.
College is the time when you’re tight on budget, or rather say financially vulnerable.
A sudden need for money may arise from nowhere amid your academics and you might not always be prepared for that – unless your last name is Gates.
Saving money is an important life skill and plays a huge role in the development of character. You acquire a respect for money in life, appreciate what you have and become more responsible.
Go minimal, say no to futile luxuries, be alright with less, and save for future to prevent any unexpected downfalls.
Maybe start reading a few books about money. We suggest that you buy Warren Buffett’s favorite book if your prefer, or The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau which is great for you if you’re a budding entrepreneur. Or just search for a free PDF version of Think and Grow Rich on the Internet.
14. Create a LinkedIn profile
The best time to create a LinkedIn profile is when you don’t even have a reason to have one – perhaps on your first day of college.
Creating a LinkedIn profile is one of the smallest yet important things you can do in college.
Having a LinkedIn profile and observing other profiles gives you a thorough idea about the trending skills, demands of the industries, required educational qualifications for certain positions and a lot more.
Also, your profile will help you to keep a track of your skills throughout your college as you go on improving it and add new elements to it.
Keep learning and expand your profile until it resembles the profile of a professional.
A simple thing like LinkedIn profile can help you in many aspects such as career development and networking.
Build up some contacts as you go through your college, they definitely help in making life easier.
Your circle of people may include your acquaintances, relatives, teachers, LinkedIn contacts, friends or potential hirers – anyone who has ever achieved significant success in his arena.
The people who work in the same field as yours can give you some valuable advice and guide you towards finding an ideal career.
Your contacts can not only help you with your academic decisions but also show you your prospects based on your skills and education.
They’ve been where you wish to be, and understand what is right for you. Who knows, they might even help you find a job in near future.
We’d love to hear from you. Seriously.
Share with us what you think can help students while they’re still in college. Like, the things you’ve found useful in college which have contributed to your improvement.
To be clear, what do you think is crucial enough to be done by the students when they’re still in college? Leave a comment below.