Guest post by Camila Sandoval, AMA Chair of Email Marketing & 2020 Penny Todd Scholarship recipient
As young adults, it seems as if we always have a million things on our plate. School probably lands high on your priority list. All the effort, time, blood, sweat, and tears (not to be dramatic or anything) you put into it, and the background thought of “this better be worth it in the end…”
So, let’s make it count–in every way we find possible. I know we all have countless things to check off our never-ending list, but we already made the bold decision to go to school and get an education to secure our futures, right? It’s well worth it to invest a little more effort and a little more time, so that we can truly secure our future. Because let’s face it, just turning in assignments and receiving passing grades to move on and graduate is not enough these days to get us our dream job. If only it were that easy!
Think of it like a savings account: If you invest a little bit every month, every week, or every day, you will eventually save up enough money to take that trip the squad has been talking about and its most definitely worth it in the end. You can start implementing these 4 tips into your college career today to achieve the tomorrow you envision for yourself.
- Open up. Cheesy, but think deeper.
Opportunities don’t just come to you. The long tail of opportunities is what matters the most. What I mean by that is that opportunities come to you after you’ve invested the blood, the sweat, and the tears. So, open up! Get comfortable being uncomfortable because only then will those tears and that sweat and the (I’m hoping figurative) blood pay off with a rewarding opportunity in the end.
Okay so how do I open up? Start by removing negative judgement. From everything: ideas, activities, but especially people! I’m not suggesting you disregard your beliefs. Remain authentic and true to yourself always, but don’t reject situations, ideas or people based off negative judgement. The best opportunities are hidden in there.
- Embrace being a student.
As a student, you pretty much get the largest grace period of your life. You get to be overly curious, ask every and any question, and best of all you have the liberty to explore. I highly encourage you to explore various interests because only then will you discover gems within yourself in the form of hidden talents, unique skills, and natural abilities- a.k.a your superpowers. The more tools you have in your toolbox, the more prepared you are for any obstacle, any instance, and any situation which, again, makes the recipe for the best opportunities to come.
The more prepared you are the more you can confidently say YES. So, use your student card. It’s a privilege. And I don’t mean use your student ID to enter the Houston Zoo for free or to get cheaper Amazon Prime. Benefit from being a student and ask the questions that you tell yourself are too dumb to ask, make the bold move to do the thing you’re afraid to fail at, and introduce yourself to those you admire but are too shy to approach. Professionals share expertise with students because they will always see value in someone who is present, driven, houses a growth mindset, and most importantly is eager to learn. And the simple act of approaching them, or asking a question, or embarking on a new project/ interest shows all those characteristics I just listed.
- Get involved. I can’t stress this enough.
Join clubs, organizations, participate in the community, volunteer for events, get your hands dirty! It is so important for you to find the time to do one if not multiple extra-curricular activities. Even if it can’t be every week, get involved.
But why is this so important? Think about when you’re searching for jobs. You’ve probably heard friends say something like “I can’t seem to find a job I qualify for. They all require experience! How do they expect me to have experience if they all require experience to begin with!?” Well, this is the answer. Experience on your resume does not always have to be from paid jobs. It’s simply called ‘experience’ because employers don’t mind much if you got paid for it or not. It’s more about what you learned from it, what skills you developed, how well you work with other people, and most importantly how you grew from each experience.
These are intrinsic things that employers are constantly looking for in candidates – your dedication, work ethic, organization, drive, passion, energy, and the list goes on.. So, get involved and discover how much more you have to offer. Spoiler alert, there’s never a finish line to discovering your awesomeness. You will continue growing as you continue evolving. Yep, life is a beautiful thing.
Alright moving on before it gets even cheesier.
- Lastly but most importantly, Networking. Capital N.
If you have ever been in a room where people are networking, you know how electrifying the energy is. It’s absolutely fascinating how powerful networking is. The most important thing to remember is that networking is an investment.
You’ve got to invest in others before they’re willing to invest in you. I know this can seem hard or even impossible when you’re a student because maybe you feel like you have nothing to offer in terms of skills or services, but this goes back to embracing being a student! Use your student card and express interest, showcase curiosity, and ask for advice and pro tips.
The second most important thing is building a relationship where value goes both ways. Find connections with people you resonate with or people you aspire to learn from so that your engagement with them is always authentic and true, like I said in #1. This way you can genuinely support them and their career just as you’re hoping they will support you and your growth.
As an upcoming or recent graduate, take my advice and make your life easier. Don’t wait until post-grad is creeping around the corner, tapping on your shoulder, filling you with the stress of what’s next. This is never a good recipe for clarity, which is fundamental to decision-making. Facilitate job seeking by preparing during your college career. Build up your future and take it into your own hands. Don’t let life choose for you. Claim your happiness and prepare yourself for prosperity and success.
Camila Sandoval serves on the board of AMA Houston as the Email Communications Chair. She is a recent marketing graduate and now speaks in student courses about career advice and college guidance. Camila specializes in search engine optimization and data analysis, with experience in social media marketing, content creation, video production and editing, and copywriting. With experience in an agency as well as an in-house marketing department at a professional services corporation, Camila has learned how to work and collaborate in dynamic environments. She’s a passionate nature explorer, enjoys photography, and is fascinated by space exploration.