It’s sad that many people go to university before they are aware of the options available to them – in terms of establishing a career and networking a future for themselves. By that same token, it’s good that many go simply to live free of the worries that come with pursuing a high-flying career, making money, and carving a way for themselves.
But there are some things I regret from having gone to university fresh from a small town (having just turned eighteen) with precious few career plans set in stone. To follow are a few things I’d do differently:
I’d network more with my classmates, as they had the same career prospects as I, and we were going in the same direction. As everyone knows, the friends you make in university are the friends you keep, but who considers those friends as business partners? Or artistic advisers? Or leaders?
I was pretty good at entering competitions and joining clubs, but you can never do enough of that sort of thing. And what about job fairs and open lectures? When you’re no longer a university student with the magic student card in your, the invitations dry up.
Quarter Life Crisis writer, Tomaz, recommends developing relationships with professors and program advisers, as these people often run businesses, have great contacts and are well respected in your community (you can also get great references through them). In terms of setting a career path, learning of what jobs are available to you and tracking down extra education and training, these people are golden.
And on that note, if you come across the opportunity to gain more job experience through internships, holiday work, volunteering, travelling, anything: jump. I did.
Develop goals for your career and the following years before you graduate. Don’t coast along thinking you’ll get a job on the basis of your degree, because the world doesn’t necessarily work that way (even if it did for your mom). Take your university education in hand, and consider carefully all your career options (there are so many!).
The world of work is a fascinating place; just try to enter it with your eyes open.