One of the greatest parts about moving onto my college campus during my first year of school was the incredible variety of academic resources and success tools that were now in my reach as a student. Whether you reside on your campus or not, as a college student you likely now have access to a long list of academic advisors, mentors, libraries, and tutoring services offered by your university. The importance of these scholastic resources cannot be overstated, as the student who rightfully takes advantage of these facilities is the student that will have a leg up throughout their higher education experience. For example, my university offered all of the student body a wide assortment of student success tools, tools which were created and implemented on campus to encourage students to become more involved in their community, and also to provide students with stable academic, financial aid, and mental health and wellness resources.
If I were given the chance to speak to my younger self, perhaps during my freshman year of college, I would urge myself to research the collection of student success tools offered on my campus and to take advantage of any, if not all, of the resources that were available to me. Though I did work to establish and maintain a healthy relationship with my academic advisors, I rarely took advantage of the tutoring services and mentorship programs offered on campus. Many universities, including my own, feature an alumni-student mentoring service or possibly a program very similar, which pairs current students with past graduates who offer up their own first-hand academic and career advice, and will answer any questions the current student has about how to lead a successful academic career. I highly encourage all current college students to look into any mentor programs that their universities have to offer, because as mentees, students will be placed in direct contact with successful alumni who are willing to share tips and advice on how to develop one’s professional profile and prepare for life after graduation. Personally, as a first-generation college student, I am positive that I would have highly benefited from becoming involved in a mentor program, because these unique settings are perfect opportunities to ask questions to real people who have been in your shoes before, and can give helpful career advice when the path may seem to be a bit confusing.
Lastly, it is more than likely that your university offers all students the chance to receive free advice from a Career Services center on campus. Career Services centers are created to be a helping hand to all students who are looking to develop themselves professionally and prepare for the competitive job market after their time in college is complete. To be quite honest, Career Services saved my life during my years as an undergraduate, as I attended multiple resume building workshops and even worked directly with multiple service providers who aided me in searching for relevant internship opportunities and applying to internships that captured my interests fully. The Career Services Center at Pace University was a vital tool that set me up for success both during and after my college career, as the center contributed to my professional development, taught me the skills of networking, and even offered interview preparation guidelines for when I was ready to apply for an internship or job. As a Global Studies major, I was required by my college to fulfill a professional internship relevant to my studies in order to be deemed eligible for graduation. This was a very stressful requirement for most, however with the guidance from my advisors within the career center, I was able to locate and apply for many internships relevant to my field, and successfully completed two internships related to immigration law.
As you begin to soar through this Fall semester, challenge yourself to seek out as many opportunities as you possibly can on your campus. These student resources are truly the secret to your success as an undergraduate, as they have been formulated and implemented by professionals who simply wish to provide you with the tools necessary to lead a successful post-graduate life.