Congratulations! You’re no longer labeled as a college freshman, you’ve started adjusting to the college lifestyle, and this year when you head off to school, you don’t have to worry about not having any friends. As exciting as it is to no longer be at the bottom of the seniority totem pole, as a sophomore you also lose the always-handy excuse of “I’m a freshman.” You’re expected to know your way around campus, declare your major, and really start being—or at least acting like—an adult. So what are the essential items to pack for your sophomore year?
The 4-ish years you spend in college are, to many, the best of your life. Yet, if you’re anything like me they are flying by. Freshman year feels like yesterday but I’m already an upperclassman. So how can you make the most of your college experience? By taking advantage of the unique combination we have in college—the freedom of a kid with the privileges and abilities of an adult. Check out this list of the 5 places you need to see during college and start planning your adventures for next year.
A Place You’re Afraid Of: Whether it’s a deathly fear of heights or spiders, we all have our irrational fears. Push yourself by going somewhere you never thought you could—from the top floor of a skyscraper to camping in the wilderness where yes, there are bugs. Can’t do it alone? Consider bringing a date: bonding over a new, albeit scary, experience will bring you even closer and make for a great story.
Of course, all colleges have their own history but some schools stand out from the crowd in terms of American history and their ties to independence. So where would Uncle Sam have been an undergrad? Read on to find out!
Harvard University: Established in 1603, Harvard is the nation’s oldest college. Harvard’s alumni numbers 40 Nobel prize winners and 8 U.S. Presidents, including John Adams, John F. Kennedy, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, and our current president, Barack Obama.
College of William and Mary– This school was home to America’s first professor of law: George Wythe. He also signed the Declaration of Independence. Wythe’s most famous pupil? None other than Thomas Jefferson.
86% of students will have an internship during college—and 69% will complete two or more. Whether you’re still on the search for your first position or already have some under your belt, it’s important to know how you can make the most of an internship. The following advice will make sure that you get the most out of your position.
- Have a positive attitude throughout your internship. Being enthusiastic about every task you’re assigned—even if it’s making copies or filing—will make a great impression on your employers. Showing that you can approach menial tasks with a good attitude may lead to you being assigned more complex and interesting projects.
Even though it’s still early in the summer, it’s never too early to start thinking about what you can gain from your internship this summer. Clearly, you’ll gain knowledge and experience from your position, whether it’s making copies and getting coffee or having a hands-on role in a project. While you’re in the office, you can continually learn by observing and should be looking for opportunities to network. Your summer internship is going to look great on your resume, but that’s not all it can do for you. Getting a great recommendation is an important opportunity you will definitely want to take advantage of. So how can you make sure to get a quality letter of recommendation?
- Make a good impression. Though this may seem obvious, you can’t get a great recommendation if you didn’t do a great job during your time there. Besides being motivated and doing the best work you can, it’s also important to remember the little things that create a professional image. Be punctual and don’t consistently leave early. Don’t waste your employer’s time by making personal calls or checking social media sites during work hours.
- Think carefully about who you’re going to ask. Don’t send out a mass email to every employee you shook hands with. Consider asking the people you worked most closely with or directly under, and ask on an individual basis. They want to feel that their time is being well used and their opinion matters.
- Talk to your manager and coworkers about your future. Many internships turn into job offers, so you want to be sure that your employer knows where see you your career heading. Additionally, these people are great resources for professional advice. Asking about their own experiences will give you great perspective and help improve your chances of a great recommendation.
- Give the person you ask a variety of options to improve your chances of getting a “yes”. Whether it’s LinkedIn, a letter, or agreeing to being listed as a reference on future applications, giving options makes it easier to find a way that is convenient for them and useful for you.
- Make sure to always, always say thank you. Show that you appreciate their time and effort. And if they say no? Don’t be too disappointed and of course still be courteous. You don’t want to try to force someone into being one of your references—they’re less likely to give a positive response—and they might just not have the time.
- Don’t ask for a recommendation at the last minute. With this being said, don’t ask for one too soon either—they need to see your quality work before being able to recommend you! However, asking at the very end of your internship may make your manager feel too crunched for time, and this might result in hearing a “no.”
- Don’t just casually ask for a letter of recommendation in passing. A planned conversation or carefully written email is a better course of action. When you ask, be prepared. Include materials, like your resume, that they will need to write the recommendation along with specific things you would like mention, such as projects you worked in or what skills you improved. This makes the writer’s job easier and guarantees you’ll get the perfect recommendation.
While spending a semester abroad can be an amazing experience, summer is an equally fun and rewarding time to go abroad. It can also be the perfect solution if your work schedule and course load make going abroad for a whole semester unfeasible. Summer programs vary greatly—with some you’ll take a class or two, others are internship-oriented, and some are focused on volunteer work. Whatever your preference, one decision you will definitely have to make is where to go. So what are the best locations for studying abroad in the summer?
Last summer, 48.8% of Americans aged 16-24 were employed in July—that’s a 10.4% decrease from 5 years ago and a 14.5% decrease from 10 years ago. In fact, 48.8% is the lowest July youth employment rate since 1948. The economy has no doubt made it more difficult for college students to find summer employment. Many businesses are looking for longer commitment than just the summer months. Yet with the rising cost of college (which is 6 times more expensive now than in 1981), it’s more important than ever to be able to earn an income during the summer.
This forces many students to decide between a paid job that doesn’t provide relevant experience and an unpaid internship that can provide invaluable experience. Don’t give up—you can find ways to get the best of both worlds. With a part-time unpaid internship, you still have time to make some extra cash with another job. Having trouble finding an opening that works with your schedule and a company that is willing to hire you for just the summer? Consider positions with off-hours or that are only available in the summer, like landscaping, working at a pool or water park, babysitting, or a camp counselor.
If you haven’t been able to land an internship, don’t write off this summer as adding nothing to your resume. Customer service and being able to work on a time are essential parts of many careers—and skills that you can learn through almost any retail job. Do you know what field you want to go into? Look for a related position, even if it’s not on the corporate side. For example, if you wish you were interning at a fashion magazine, look for a part-time job at a stylish store. It will give you real world experience that you can talk about in future interviews, as well as give you a paycheck. Good luck changing the statistics and turning this summer into a productive and profitable experience!
Are you wondering if your ideal program of study is going to cost even more than an average tuition? Following are some of the most expensive majors for college students. However, it is important to keep in mind that some majors, especially those requiring extra years of study, generally pay off in the long run. And don’t let an expensive option hold you back from pursuing your dream job. As Chinese philosopher Confucius once said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
I’m the first to admit that I almost always have my cell phone on me. Every morning, I turn on my laptop to check my e-mails before I even shower, and I check my Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Facebook accounts multiple times a day. This all begs the question: does technology make students happier? The answer is definitely complicated and will make you think about how technology influences your life.
Although the education you receive is a central part of why anyone goes to college, finding and securing a job is also a primary motivation. However, if graduation is coming up and you’re still looking for the right fit, don’t panic—there are plenty of resources available to you.
Networking is key to a successful job search. Did you have an internship or summer job during your college years? Reach out to those contacts and see if they’re hiring—or know someone who is. Were you involved in an academic club or greek letter organization? Contact alumni and inquire about openings at their company. It can’t hurt to ask, it will help strengthen your connection even if they can’t help you right now, and they’re more than likely to want to help you. Before you begin networking, be sure to update your LinkedIn profile.