Friday, February 17, 2012

Things I wish I knew in college

College was probably the best time of my life. I know everyone says it should be, but it isn't until you aren't there anymore that you realize it. There are things I wish I'd been told while I was there that would have been extremely useful to know before I started my career, so I though I'd try to share some wisdom and help out those of you that are still there:

Why staying awake in class is important
We've all been there... long night doing homework, early morning trying to print, then you forget your coffee/energy drink of choice at home on the counter. Class starts and five minutes in you are starting to pass out. Unfortunately, this doesn't end after college. Eventually you will be in meetings and conference calls where the conversations are just as uninteresting, but it's even more important to stay awake since you are being paid to be there. You absolutely must find a method of staying awake in class, and no, not on your cellphone. Find out if you need more sleep or if you need to have some sugar or caffeine in your system. Maybe you just need to read up on the class ahead of time to stay awake. Whatever it is for you, you need to practice it in class. I can't tell you how embarrassing it is to go to a meeting and to see someone starting to doze off. You do not want to be that person.

Taking notes
Now that you have successfully found a way to stay conscious, you need to find a way to take good notes by hand. Yes, by hand. Sorry to all of you laptop users, but in meetings laptops are usually not allowed as the typing is annoying to hear when someone is talking. Think of every office meeting you have seen on any TV show; everyone has a notepad and there is never a laptop. This isn't the only reason though. After important meetings, more often than not as the new person you will be the one to send out the meeting minutes. Which means you need to have been awake and been taking accurate notes. You will need to be able to pick out the important information and be able to use it correctly to tell everyone what you heard. Also, it's easier for you to remember what you need to do and who is important in the office.

Get a planner
In college I never had one and still managed to get all my homework done and turned in. When you get to the point in the office where you have 10-15 things that need to get done and all have deadlines, you need to remember when it all happens. Getting a planner, or at least making a To Do list is the best things you could possibly have. I don't think I'd be able to make it through a day any more without one.

Get good at public speaking - fast
In my first week on the job, I was leading conference calls and was fortunate enough to be decent at speaking in front of a bunch of people I've never met. It's extremely nerve wracking, but you absolutely must be able to voice your opinion and ask questions, which is something most students forget in college or just try to avoid. It is the people that are confident and will speak out that will catch the attention of recruiters, and it is those people that will get the jobs. Don't be shy; being shy won't get you work.

I'm sure I have more advice I would have loved to have been told in college, but this is what I have for the moment. I'll be sure to include more in my second segment of Things I wish I knew in college

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