If you ask any college student, most will agree that balancing a social life, work, schoolwork, and extracurricular involvements is challenging.
The "poor, struggling student" is a stereotype for a reason considering college tuition, student debt, and an uncertain economic future awaits. Yet, it's common for graduates to look back on one's college years in a positive light.
Before embarking on your post-graduate journey, you'll face plenty of pressure surrounding the decision to go to college. Should you go to a big or small institution? Should you place prestige above cost? Is it better to stay local or attend a school far away?
How a student navigates their college years, however, is much more crucial than their college choice. So how do you make the most of this important time in your life? Check out dreamOway's guide to the ultimate college campus experience.
Use This Time to Explore Your Interests
While your first reaction may be to choose a major before as soon as you start your college career, sometimes it's better if you wait. Set your status to "undeclared" and take a few classes before deciding the direction you'd like to go.
It's incredibly stressful as a 17 or 18-year-old to decide on the course for the rest of your life, so allow yourself to get to know your interests and passions a bit more when starting out.
Connect to professional student organizations that focus on topics you would enjoy, pursue jobs on campus, get involved in student government, sports, or any campus group or college activities that seems exciting and enjoyable to you.
You learn more about yourself by experiencing more, and you're bound to get to know yourself a lot better by having a more solid grasp on what interests you and drives you.
Take Advantage of Networking Opportunities
Forming connections in college is extremely important. Every single relationship you make is of value. You never know whether your partner for that class project (that you're pretty sure you'll never really speak to again) could eventually connect you with a fantastic job opportunity or the chance to pad your resume.
Cultivate trusted relationships with your professors, bosses, and peers. These people will be your go-to options for references when landing that first job or internship. Be intentional about investing in these connections, and they will significantly benefit you.
Take time to attend your college's job fairs and keep your eye out for social events that could turn into networking opportunities. Volunteer for non-profits near you whose causes align with your interests and passions.
Most importantly, be mindful of your circle of friends. Although your social life matters for a whole list of reasons, your friends know you intimately and can help encourage, motivate, or connect you to notable people in the fields they're in. That could ultimately connect you with a fantastic opportunity you wouldn't have access to otherwise.
Explore Resources Offered by Your School
Your tuition doesn't just cover your classes and living expenses, but also provides access to mental health services, library resources, writing support centers, job fairs, conferences, and many other benefits.
Take full advantage of these resources and events to not only get your money's worth, but to stay healthy, connected, and academically robust.
Pursue Internships in Your Field
Getting some internships under your belt (in the field you're interested in) is a great way to get a foot in the door with a company or organization. Be intentional about applying for summer internships or jobs, and if you can afford it, volunteer your skills to a company in exchange for mentorship and college credits.
Not everyone can afford to take an unpaid internship, so it's completely okay if that option doesn't work for you. The important lesson here is to gain experience in a related position.
Join a Supportive, Empowering Community of Dreamers Like You
One of the most important and enriching parts of any college experience is joining a supportive and empowering community and network. dreamOway is a social crowdfunding app that connects you with people who can provide you with the encouragement, financial support, and potential connections in your field!
Scientist-turned-founder and CEO Justine Sinclair believes a supportive community composed of like-minded people can turn dreams into reality.
To date, dreamOway hosts hundreds of crowdfunding campaigns and gives a voice to aspiring dreamers - like you! Using the platform's simple goal structure, share your dream with the in-app community and across all your social media channels to raise money for textbooks, travel opportunities, and internship expenses. See just some of our success stories from people just like you!
Please share your story simply by creating a video and posting it in the app. Don't wait till tomorrow - live your dream today!