For many young Latinas starting college, the goal is to graduate and get the job they have been dreaming of since they were children. It is very important to hit the books from the very first day of school and study, study, study! Getting an education is the most important part about college, but there are other things you can be doing as a freshman in college that will help you get ahead when the time comes to graduate!
Join Clubs & Organizations
During the first few weeks of class, many colleges and universities have club and organization fairs where students can go and learn about the many kinds of student organizations that are offered on campus. Go to one of these! Colleges are full of a variety of fun and interesting clubs. Nicole Herrera, 20, says, “I think as a freshman in college, it is important to join clubs or organizations that are both relevant to the career you wish to take and it is also good to involve yourself with more extracurricular, but equally beneficial groups.” If you already know what career you might want, join a club that caters to that particular career. Such organizations often bring guest speakers to talk about what it is to be in that career field. If you are not sure about what you want to do, look around, talk to people, and join clubs that seem interesting. Chances are, these clubs will lead you to the right career.
Find Internships That Relate to Your Career
Keep your eyes open for internship opportunities! Even after you complete your degree and receive your diploma, many jobs ask that you have job experience. It is frustrating to think that a degree alone was not enough to get you a job, and because of that, try to work in as many internships as possible. Getting work experience before graduation will really make you stand out when applying to jobs. If you do not know what you want to be “when you grow up,” internships are the best way to figure out what you do or do not like. By testing out all the different work environments, you can narrow down your choices to something that you would truly enjoy.
Attend Career Fairs
You may not get many job offers as a freshman, but job fairs show you what jobs are on the market. Ask recruiters what they are looking for when hiring someone so you know exactly what you need to work on or improve. Think of attending career fairs as a form of doing research. Research is always good!
Talk to the Advisers
Universities have all kinds of advisers. You might have an adviser for your major, one for your minor, one for your overall classification, etc. Advisers are there to help you. Take advantage of that! If you ever have a question, they have the knowledge to guide you. There is a lot of pressure in choosing a major and deciding on one can be stressful. Career advisers are there to help you explore the different possibilities and help you make a choice that will be beneficial to you and make you happy. Never feel like you have a dumb question; there is no such thing! Having an adviser’s opinion is very helpful!
Joselynne Valenzuela, 18, says, “Networking really is the best way to get places! It is easier to find opportunities when you have other people helping you look.” By networking, you will build connections with people who may be able to help you out in the long-run. The act of “networking” is easy; all it means is talk to people and make connections! Introduce yourself to your professor at the beginning of the semester and keep in contact with him or her throughout the semester. Stay after class to talk to the guest speaker. Make connections with your classmates. Talk to people everywhere. If you are on the bus, put down your cell phone and talk to the person next to you. Joining clubs and organizations is another easy way to network. The more people you know, the more chances you will have of getting what you want.
College is a time to explore all the possibilities that are available to you. Make sure you take all the opportunities possible and make the best of the short time you have as a student!