Utilizing Campus Resources to Plan for Post-Undergrad Life

What many people don’t realize is that choosing a career path is not a one-dimensional decision. Just as any other major move, there are many pieces of your life that play a factor in where your professional journey leads you. It’s not just about your skills and interests, but what will fit your lifestyle, how family might play a part in your choice, and even what steps you are mentally ready to take. Many times, taking a moment to figure out the best course of action requires bringing in others to help you reach your goals. Becoming a better student, improving your time management, even effectively learning to clear your mind of stress and clutter can assist you in figuring out next steps.

Use the resources provided by your college to help you become a stronger student/candidate, and give you confidence in your choices. Let’s get past the obvious point: you’ve already paid for them in your tuition, and therefore they should be utilized. That is a no-brainer. But what are some of the offices that you regularly walk past that you need to stop in from time to time? Probably quite a few, if you’re like many of us were while in college.

Sometimes it’s pride that stops us from turning the knob, having the attitude that we shouldn’t need help. Other times, we simply don’t know about certain resources available, simply because we don’t ask, or assume what is or isn’t available. Here are a few of my favorite resources that are available on almost any college campus:

Career Centers

Because I work in one, I see how many students avoid visiting us for a variety of reasons, many of which are erroneous. No matter where you are in the career exploration process, visit!

I have met so many students that felt they needed to have a clear reason for coming in, or a specific career in mind. This is not the case. Career advisors exist for the student that is totally lost and clueless, as well as the ambitious go-getter that has an exact idea in mind for where they want to land.

The key to using a career center is being realistic of what will be accomplished in a meeting. While we advisors wish we had the powers of fortune tellers to quickly divulge what the future holds after meeting with you once, I’m pretty sure most of us do not. Therefore, be patient, and understand that if you’re willing to put in the time, the answers will eventually arrive.

Counseling Centers

Visiting mental health counselors isn’t for the “crazies.” It could be for someone trying to get over a temporary hump, or learn how to deal with the stress of school or family. More often than not, the students utilizing these services are very much like you, and would like help in dealing with the pressures of everyday life. And many times, talking things out with a counselor can help them move forward in their classes, social life, and even career plans.

College can be very nerve-wracking, and the fast-pace of classes, activities, friends, jobs, and other factors can become overwhelming. Take time out to breathe, and share your anxieties and frustrations with someone who can truly help you work through them. Having a sense of mental balance and peace is essential to tackle decision-making in any area of life.

Professors’ Office Hours

Students avoid professors like the plague, especially when they are not performing well. This is exactly when you need to be sitting in your professor’s office, trying to put your heads together and figure out what’s going wrong. Again, this is when pride can really be a hindrance to success. Don’t let a poor grade make it to your transcript for fear of facing a professor. They are there to help, and can often turn out to be great mentors and cheerleaders.

On the opposite end, if you’re doing well, this is a great opportunity to gain an ally. Perhaps you can later work for this faculty member as a teaching assistant, or request a letter of recommendation. Getting to know your professors is important no matter how you’re performing in the class, so pull out that syllabus, write down their hours, and introduce yourself!

Writing Center/English Tutors

You may be wondering how a writing center relates to your career. Whether you end up in graduate program or on the job, everyone wants candidates with strong writing skills. Sometimes your first test comes with writing a cover letter or personal statement. This is one way one’s writing abilities can be assessed. In a world where “text-speak” and auto-correct are changing the way we communicate and write, writing is becoming even more of a lost art. Take the time to really grasp the rules of grammar. It’ll always pay off!

Updated: 01/03/2017

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