At the end of each school year, you likely hear advice for almost-graduates who are looking forward to beginning their careers. But waiting until graduation can be too late. Now is the time to begin thinking about life after school, whether or not you have begun college yet. College isn’t a way to delay real life, but it’s a way of preparing you for that time. While you don’t have to start applying for jobs before you even start school, you should think about how to shape your college years to take you where you want to go.
Consider Your Finances
You might only have an idea about what you want to do in the future, and you likely don’t know what type of job you’ll get after graduation. But the financial choices you make now will still affect you in the future. Create a budget to help you manage your money, and allocate at least a portion of that for savings, even if it’s just a small amount. If you’re considering taking out student loans, consider using a student loan repayment calculator to estimate what your monthly payments may be with a private student loan. That will help you break down what you might owe each month, and you can decide if that’s manageable after graduation.
Become a Great Writer
Whether or not you want to go into a communications-related field, having strong writing skills will take you a long way. Most careers require strong writing skills. Look at each assignment as a way to develop your editing and writing skills and ask your professors for feedback. Many schools have writing centers, or you can sign up for a class. Reading is equally important. You’ll put yourself several steps ahead of your fellow students by doing this.
Too many college students mistakenly believe that no one wants to hear about their issues, thoughts, or talents. That means they often don’t reach out to those in fields they’re interested in until graduation. When they’re looking for a job, it’s often too late to be just beginning these connections. Start networking early on, even if you haven’t started school yet. Send emails or message people in areas you’re interested in. Even if you just tell them you read their book or like what their company is working on, you’ll still be opening communication lines. Join professional organizations in areas you’re interested in. Many times, people will be happy to help a smart student. It’s flattering to be recognized, whether by a coworker or an interested college student, and many people are happy to help someone start on the right path.
Have a Productive Summer
Having a summer job or doing an internship can be helpful career-wise. But you can do other things too, such as making a website or starting your own business. Look for temporary work to get experience in many companies. Consider doing summer courses to develop life and professional skills, such as computer programing, bookkeeping, or leadership. Read publications in fields you’re interested in so you can converse on a range of subjects.