Many people attend college to get a degree in their field of interest. Whether you are attending college to broaden your knowledge base, to find out what you are passionate about, or to focus on getting to your dream job, the spring semester is the time to hone in on what matters to you. Before you strap on your backpack and enter this semester with the same routine and attitude as last semester, consider the following suggestions for making this semester a positive turning point in your education.
Declare a Major
College is a time of exploration, challenges, and opportunities that shape the rest of your life. Consider your hobbies, classes, and extracurricular activities to narrow down some fields that interest you. Make sure to consider these factors when signing up for your college classes and when declaring a major. If you have declared major, spend this semester taking at least one class related to your major in order to see if your major still interests you. If you have not declared a major, spend this semester taking varying classes and reflect on which ones you enjoy and which ones you are good at.
Define your Dream Job
What type of environment do you prefer to work in (indoor or outdoor, private or public, alone or in a group, established business or a new business, consistent or constantly changing)? Answering these questions can help you narrow down the type of job that fits your preferences. If you have no previous job experience, begin the search for a summer job or internship to clarify the type of work that you prefer and to expand future job opportunities. With at least one semester behind you, this semester should be spent defining a practical dream job. If you are in your final spring semester, be realistic with your dream job to make the job search more focused and clear.
Use your Resources
Colleges offer many free resources to students such as access to research databases, speaker series, and club fairs. Find out what resources your school offers that will help you toward your goals. Many colleges offer free fitness classes, relaxation sessions, and discounted rates or free entrance at nearby museums, zoos, and eateries. Use your student I.D. to take advantage of discounts and memberships that may help you to reach your academic goals.
Every person that you meet in college will impact your life in some way. The degree of the impact will depend on whether you attentively listen to your professors, dialogue with classmates, and volunteer in the community. Discuss your academic goals, your dream job, and your interests with people. Seek out opportunities to meet with upperclassman who can offer advice and their experiences. Ask others why they chose a certain major, what type of work they do or what their goals are in life. We should never underestimate our encounters with others because they may be the gateway to our goals through their advice, experiences, and connections.
If your grades were not ideal last semester, or if your course load is more intense this semester, consider pulling back from some extracurricular activities and clubs. Choose one club that is important to you personally and academically and stay involved in that one club rather than allowing your grades to suffer in order to be involved in multiple clubs. If you excelled academically last semester, consider expanding your resume by involving yourself in more clubs and volunteer opportunities. If there is a particular club of interest, being a faithful member this semester may lead to a leadership position next semester.
Many people start off the new year with resolutions to improve their health, fitness, and relationships. Resolve to enter this spring semester with the purpose of getting closer to your degree by declaring a major, defining your dream job, using your school resources, networking, and balancing school activities. Doing so will bring you closer to your goals.