College is an adventure quite unlike anything you’ve experienced before. You’ll be presented with a myriad of opportunities, choices, and responsibilities that will determine the trajectory of your life for years to come. That's quite an exciting (and perhaps a little overwhelming) thought.
So, how can you make the most of your time in college? We’ve compiled a list of 8 things you can do during these transformative years to set yourself up for success now, and in the future.
1. Be proactive and take initiative.
Ever wonder how some students seem to excel at everything they set out to do, while others just scrape by? It’s not a fluke. Successful students master certain characteristics that empower them to be their best. These include:
- Being motivated and organized.
- Having defined goals and setting benchmarks to achieve them.
- Creating consistent study habits and actively following them.
- Attending classes, no matter what.
- Managing their time wisely and following a schedule.
- Taking an active role in their success by assuming responsibility for their actions.
2. Have a Growth Mindset.
What exactly is a growth mindset? Well, if you believe that skills and abilities aren’t simply something you’re born with—but rather—something you develop through hard work and discipline, then you have a growth mindset.
This is a critical view to have going into college—at a time when you’re presented with such diverse learning opportunities. By embracing a growth mindset, you create a love of learning and a focus on personal development that will help you weather even the most overwhelming difficulties (and even failures). Because, simply put, failures help you develop resilience, refining you into a more flexible, persistent person.
So, what are some ways you can focus on your personal growth?
- Build your confidence, communication, and interpersonal skills by attending networking and community events.
- Cultivate healthy habits, including a work/life balance, by identifying your personal strengths and weaknesses and then setting goals accordingly.
- Identify how you learn best, and pattern your studying habits around that method.
- Don’t be afraid to try new things, and challenge yourself. That’s how you learn and grow!
3. Take the time to find your niche.
Not sure what you want to major in yet? That’s okay! College is a time to learn about yourself, develop skills, and learn as much as you can. Choosing what path you want to take will be much less daunting if you ask for help. That’s why there are so many free resources available to college students.
Plan on visiting the Student Success Center within the first few months (or weeks) of your first semester. The advisors, counselors, and mentors at the Student Success Center are trained to ask the questions and provide the support you need to find your place.
4. Come prepared.
Before you hit campus on the first day, make sure you’ve done your research and compiled the information and tools you’ll need to be successful. Some essentials:
- Research housing options. Read reviews, look into pricing and amenities, check the distance from your proposed accommodations to the school, and make sure rent, parking, and all utilities are within your budget.
- Get a good laptop, with adequate storage and processing to meet any course/degree requirements.
- Find health insurance and get enrolled.
- How will you eat? If your chosen housing doesn’t offer a kitchen, consider a college meal plan.
- Check out your commute. Research bus and train stops nearby and look at the schedules. Need parking? Arrange for you parking pass beforehand.
- Worried you might miss something? Make sure you attend orientation ! It’s designed to provide all the valuable information new students need to get started off on the right foot.
5. Nurture your support system.
Starting school in a new place is not easy. Whether you traveled across the globe to attend college and are learning a new language and adapting to a new culture, or simply moving across the state to live on your own for the first time, college is a huge adjustment.
It’s important to stay connected with family and friends as you settle in to this new environment. Take the time to communicate with the people who know and love you on a regular basis, even as you build new relationships and friendships at school. All of these connections will be important to maintaining a sense of balance and well-being as you navigate these life-changing years.
6. Learn practical skills.
When you’re registering for your courses, make sure that you don’t overlook the importance of acquiring hands-on professional skills. Employers aren’t just looking for a diploma. They want employees who have excellent problem-solving and communication skills, and are creative and forward-thinking.
In addition to these critical soft-skills, employers need people who can create a spreadsheet or PowerPoint, negotiate a contract, diagnose and solve a network issue, or organize a digital marketing campaign. Practical skills and experience are invaluable in today’s job market. Jump at every opportunity to build your skillset, hone your talents, and get hands on experience in (and outside) your field.
7. Get leadership experience.
Speaking of skills…few aptitudes will have more impact on your success after college than your ability to effectively manage. Projects, people, events. Whatever you’re called on to manage in your job, the ability to plan, organize, set goals, follow a budget and allot time appropriately will set you apart from your peers.
There are many avenues for gaining managements skills in college. Consider taking a business management course , or participating in an on-campus organization. Talk to your professors or academic advisor for tips on finding an internship. Or, try organizing an event for charity.
8. Find your professor, and your network.
Start building your professional network TODAY. The first step? Introduce yourself to your professors and take advantage of their office hours. Build relationships with them. Especially that one professor who teaches the subject you’re passionate about, or who strikes you in a particularly positive way. Seek out the overachievers in your classes and befriend them. Down the road, you’ll have a network of inspiring, well-rounded, successful professionals to bounce ideas off of and support you when you need a lead.
College offers a plethora of exciting experiences and opportunities for growth. Plus, it can be a lot of fun. So, make the most of it! Go forth, learn as much as you can, and above all…be yourself.
To learn more about the programs and services Ensign College has to offer, visit www.ensign.edu today.