But… NO, we can’t do just that, we’re told.
Instead, we’re told we need to be “preparing for our futures”. Okay… and exactly how are we supposed to do that?
Oh, well, by interning and updating our resumes and attending corporate lectures about how to interview properly, etc., …then more boring stuff, etc., etc.
Okay, fine. I guess to a certain degree those are all decent ways to prepare for your career.
I think there have to be better ways to do that.
Here are some:
I don’t care if it takes you five hundred years to graduate school. If you do ANYTHING on this list, please, for the love of God and all things holy…
“Oh, but I don’t have the money to travel.”
Dude, if I catch you buying new rims for your car instead of going on a trip somewhere, prepare to be slapped.
No, but really, traveling is an amazing way to prepare for your career. Why? Because first of all, traveling helps you to discover so much about yourself. By experiencing time on your own in a new place, you’re taught how to handle yourself in new surroundings and ***newsflash*** in the workforce, the most successful people are the ones who know how to do just that.
They know how to adapt and survive.
Not to mention the fact that traveling gives you something to talk about with pretty much anyone. When you enter the workforce, until you get used to it, going to networking events and talking to your peers is going to be kind of…awkward.
You might feel like a loser with zero social skills.
You might in fact BE a loser with zero social skills.
BUT if you’ve traveled, you’ll have something to talk about and you won’t have to deal with those brutally awkward moments of silence.
You know how people with pets LOVE to talk about their animals?
Well, people who’ve traveled LOVE to talk about their experiences.
So do yourself a favor and if you ever have the opportunity to travel or to study abroad, do it. Please.
2. Join a Random Club
Yes, a random one. I don’t care what it is. Create one if you have to.
Point is, while in college, venture out of your comfort zone. Pick up a new hobby that you enjoy doing. Learn a new skill that you’d never thought of learning before. Teach yourself how to acquire new skills quickly because in the workforce, the people who advance in their careers know how to do this. A lot.
3. Reconnect with Old Friends
Remember that guy you sat next to in seventh grade who you thought was a total nerd?
Yea, call him up. Facebook message him. Ask him how he’s doing.
Then, do the same for all your old contacts.
I’m pretty sure that it’s safe to say that by the time we enter college, we’ve lost touch with most of our elementary and middle school friends. We may have even lost touch with our friends from our freshman year in high school.
One of the best ways that you can prepare for your career while in college is to work on building your network. The more people you know, the better. Yes, I’m sorry, most of the time, it’s about who you know. So know a lot of people.
Cultivate meaningful relationships because you never know who or what you’re going to need in the future.
Oh, and that nerd you sat next to? He might be kind of hot now.
Date a lot.
“Oh, but I don’t have time to date because I need to be studying so that I can get a 4.0 GPA so I can get the best job when I graduate.”
Sorry, I don’t buy it.
Dating in college is just as important as studying for a test. Before you think I’m completely crazy, hear me out.
When you date people, first of all, you get to know yourself. You get to know what you like, what you don’t like, what interests you, and what doesn’t.
But most importantly, dating teaches you that sometimes things don’t work out.
I mean, sometimes you date someone for a while and then you realize that they aren’t the right fit. So you break up.
And it’s hard and it’s devastating and you cry.
Then you get back together for a day. Then you break up again and you cry some more.
But you know what? This is kind of a good thing.
Because the more comfortable you become with recognizing what works for you and what doesn’t, the easier it’ll be for you to find your dream job.
And you should never settle.
5. Become Friends with a Weirdo
Yes, we all know someone or some people who we consider to be weirdos.
GO BE FRIENDS WITH THEM!!
It’s imperative that we learn early on in life how to interact with people who aren’t like us.
For instance, I grew up attending private Catholic school and I’ll never forget that day, during my first year at work, when I was setting up the Christmas tree in the office.
One of my co-workers mentioned that she didn’t celebrate Christmas.
Who doesn’t celebrate Christmas?
What kind of grinch is she?
Oh, she’s Jewish.
A lot of times we forget that people are different from us. People think differently, they have different views, and they have different interests.
And that’s okay!
But the thing is that we’re not used to that. We’re used to surrounding ourselves with people just like us.
To prepare for your career, learn how to socialize with people that you wouldn’t usually associate with. It’s a great skill to have.
Because I promise you, in your career, you won’t get to pick the people you work with and the better you are at interacting with diverse personalities, the more successful you will be.
So just do yourself a favor and spend some time in college NOT stressing about studying and going to career fairs. Instead, learn a little bit more about yourself, other people, and the world around you. Those lessons are far more valuable.
A much better return on investment.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Gen Y Girl!
About the Author: Kayla Cruz graduated college at the age of 20 with a degree in Health Services Administration. She is currently working as a Regulatory Coordinator in Clinical Research while pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Administration specializing in Human Resources. She has found she’s most passionate about helping young professionals navigate through their first few years as GenYers in the workforce. Follow Kayla on Twitter!