Navigating The Real World

In college, you are constantly surrounded by questions of what you are majoring in and what you are going to do after college… It is hard to plan at my mere age of 20, what exactly I am going to be doing in 10 years, 20 years or even 50 years. It is overwhelming to say the least.
As times progress, it seems as though it is steadily becoming more and more difficult… first, to get into college. The acceptance rates are dropping, the minimum required GPA, SAT score and number of extracurricular are rapidly growing. Unfortunately, a weekly visit to a nursing home or soup kitchen just won’t cut it anymore… colleges are looking for and demanding more out of their students. It has both its benefits and its downfalls. While it is pushing students out of their comfort zones, forcing them to actively participate in the community and beyond, high school students do not have enough time to do it all.

Once in college, most students are required or urged to study abroad, or spend their summers doing an internship or working at a job to pay for the increasing college tuition or apartment rent. The focus is less on the actual classes that you are taking and the degree that you are receiving and more on the person that you become and the experiences that you have gained. However, don’t be fooled… your GPA, much like in high school, is extremely important, especially if you want to eventually apply to a graduate school. Once you reach college, anything that you may have achieved in high school is essentially meaningless. Whether it is your stellar GPA of 3.9 that got you into college or the honors and awards that you received from your high school… you can officially throw them out the window.
After college, many professions and employers are looking for and requiring a graduate degree. With more schooling, come more bills. If not right out of college, eventually the real world will hit and the job search begins. If there is one thing that seems to impress employers the most, it seems to be experience. Many companies are looking to hire new employees with experience… but how does one gain experience without being given the opportunity. That is a question that I will never be able to answer for myself…
It seems as though just a degree is meaningless these days. There is an increase in competition, a greater pool of applicants thus driving employers to higher those that are more experienced to cut costs on training and more…
Essentially… this all narrows down to networking. Many people find jobs through referrals or connections that they have made.
So what does that mean for those of us that are still in college?
Huffington Post recently had an article on the “Intangibles” that will get you a job in college
The National Associatin of Colleges and Employers (NACE), recently surveyed hiring managers about the top skills they look for when recruiting employees from the class of 2015. First and foremost, they considered leadership a skill that can make or break a hiring decision. Aside from just extracurricular options, learning a foreign language and studying abroad are some experiences that can help to strengthen ones resume. Extracurriculars such as student clubs and sports teams are great opportunities for people to build leadership skills.
Secondly, ones ability to work well on a team and in a collaborative group is a common structure in todays workplace regardless of industry. Additionally, todays workforce is increasingly diverse so any daily campus interaction with fellow students and faculty helps to enhance an understanding of other cultures.
Finally, communication skills are extremely important regardless of professional or field of work. It is important to not only speak and write clearly but also be able to project your voice in an appropriate manner. One should be able to communicate workplace policies clearly as well as communicate with patients, customers or other employees. Many college campuses offer a number of resources to hone your communication skills!
While it seems as though there is no clear cut way to get into a school or the field of your dreams, it is important to keep these few tips in mind, regardless of degree, level of education or age!


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