As a soon-to-be college graduate (I see you, May 4, graduation day), I feel like I am entitled to pass on a few words of wisdom and advice to you upcoming seniors. These past four years have flown by (cliché I know but true). Looking back on my college career, there are aspects I know I took full advantage of; however, I can’t help but wonder if I would have done some things differently had I known what I know now. I think I would have benefited if someone had offered me a checklist of things to make the most of my four undergraduate years. So, here it is class of 2019. Get your pencils ready.
Take the time to build relationships and grow your professional network
As an undergraduate student, you have the opportunity to learn from some of the most experienced individuals in your field. The best part? These professionals are your professors and their job is literally to teach the skills you need to succeed. Don’t be afraid to pick their brains. Attend office hours or guest lectures or strike up a conversation with one of your professors. All of them have connections in the “real world” and you never know when you might need a reference or letter of recommendation.
Join pre-professional organizations
If you have previously been involved with PRSSA or another professional organization, great. Take advantage of your knowledge as an upperclassman and apply for a leadership role within the organization. If you are not already a member, don’t feel like you can’t get involved as a senior. You can still benefit and learn from being a part of the group.
Learn from your peers
Next time you are in class, look around the room. Sitting next to you could be the future communications director for a global firm or the future press secretary for the White House. Use the opportunity to learn from your peers and grow as a PR professional. Don’t be afraid to ask your classmates for advice or to listen to their ideas. I have learned that the best results come from group brainstorming and peer review.
So class of 2019, with your checklist in hand, jump feet first into all the opportunities awaiting you in your final year of college.
Darsey Norton is a former writer and editor for Platform Magazine. She graduated with honors from The University of Alabama in May 2018 and plans to attend law school in the fall.