By Kaitlyn DeHaven | Digital Managing Editor
College is exhausting. Everyone knows that. Balancing your academic life with your social life, family life, spiritual life and still leaving time at the end of the day for yourself is flat-out draining. As a result of this, we’re inclined to say no to extra responsibilities, skip class every now and then to get a few extra hours of shut-eye and spend the time we’re actually in class staring off into space because “we just can’t today.”
Now, I’m definitely a culprit of the school slump. I’m rarely seen in my classes with something other than Nike shorts and a T-shirt on, and a lot of times in the morning I’m truly focusing more on how to keep my eyes open than listening to the lesson my professor has so carefully planned to teach that day. However, something that I’ve learned throughout my few years at Baylor is while I may not think that my time in college — or in classes for that matter — is going to affect my job search in any way, it definitely does.
As a freshman, I never thought about how my attitude, attire and the effort I put into getting to know my professors and peers would affect my future. Now, as a senior in college, I’m seeing how all those years I actually came to class with good intentions is coming to fruition, and I wish I had realized how important these few things were earlier on in my college career.
One of the things I never thought was significant my first few years of college was my class posture. Now, I’m not just talking about not sitting with my arms crossed and an angry face, I’m talking about my overall class attitude. I hate answering questions in class. Public speaking is stressful, and if you give the wrong answer, everyone knows it. But teachers really appreciate it when students participate in class, whether we give the right or the wrong answer, and when we participate, it shows that we honestly care about the material they’ve prepared.
I know professors can feel like the big, bad adults in college who give us bad grades, or ruin our GPAs, but these professors have worked for years to teach us. Just think about that for a second: They went through years of professors, hard work, dissertations and studying to eventually teach us, and I think that’s something we should respect (even if they give us that C we don’t think we deserve).
Throughout the years, my professors have taught me valuable lessons outside the classroom as well that I will be grateful for forever. I’ve learned about different world views, what it was like back in their day, how to navigate a foreign country and even about job opportunities.
Speaking of job opportunities, if you have the chance to learn a skill you may or may not think will help you in the workplace — do it! Time in class is great for learning the basics of the field we want to go into, but from there the next step is to apply our knowledge and broaden our skill sets. This doesn’t just mean internships, it could be as simple as participating as a treasurer for an organization or running a social media account for a small startup business.
At first, we might be inclined to avoid these extra responsibilities, but trust me, I’m so grateful that I have them to show to a potential employer when I walk into a job interview. College gives us the unique opportunity to grow our skills in a multitude of ways, through organizations, internships and even part-time jobs. When we get out into the real world, these won’t be as readily available to us, so it’s vital that we take the time to explore and expand our skill set while we’re here.
We might think that our first few years in college don’t matter, but in the end, they do. The way we act, dress and interact with those around us in college will come through one day when we get to the workplace. So, it’s a good idea to begin practicing and using our time in college to get the most out of this experience. Our job interviews start now. Will you be one who makes it to the next round?