As I start my second and final half of college, I find myself lost in a sea of syllabi and decisions about my approaching post-graduation life. And while taking five classes, interning with News Generation, and serving as Vice President of Communications for my sorority has certainly filled out my planner, I’ve found that taking the time to truly reflect on lessons I have learned is always valuable and can lead to life changing revelations.
- Internships – Quality Over Quantity: The opportunity to experience the professional world and build my resume before graduation is something that has appealed to me since high school. I felt the pressure to send out my then very limited resume the second I stepped onto American University’s campus as a freshman. While many of my peers have had various internships, starting as freshmen, I chose to wait for the right opportunity to come along. Working with News Generation since the beginning of the summer, I have had the opportunity to learn from passionate colleagues, publish articles, and even moderate a Radio Media Tour. All of these incredible opportunities and learning experiences have helped build my resume in a way that multiple, busy-work internships could not. So, if you’re feeling pressure to have multiple internships on your resume before graduation, stop and think about how a meaningful internship can do so much more for your professional experience and your confidence going into the workplace.
- Look for Connections Between Your Classes and Professional Work: Throughout my school career, I’ve taken many classes where I couldn’t help but think, “When am I ever going to use this information?” After finishing my general education requirements and diving deep into my major coursework, I’ve found countless connections not only between classes, but also through the work I do as an intern. Making these connections and applying what I’ve learned to new situations has excited my interest in the communication field and in my schoolwork. And, being able to share real life applications of concepts in class will show your professors and your boss your passion for your work.
Don’t Forget to Have Fun! With pressure to perform well in school and extracurricular commitments to intern and serve as a leader, it is sometimes hard to stop doing work and find time to just do nothing. But it’s that time of just doing nothing, or going out to dinner with friends, or even going to the gym, that truly shape your college and personal experiences. Growing personal relationships is just as important as building professional relationships, and having a support system is vital to the often-stressful college life.
These valuable lessons have not only made me a stronger student, intern, and leader, but a better individual as well. Reflecting on experiences and relationships will help me continue to grow, even into post-graduation life.