So, here you are scrolling through another article about how college taught an individual about something meaningful. We all know the set formula at this point; spend thousands of dollars on a piece of paper that will hopefully get you a job, a lifetime of wonderful memories, and then spend the rest of your life trying to payback the loans for the awesome experience.
As any other millennial would do, I like to sort of “motivate and help” myself with articles about how we can all cope with the state of our lives. I like to surround myself with go-getter articles about following your dreams and having “carpe diem” moments. The idea of being your own boss and following your own rules; setting out an example for the next generation. This idea led our generation to be known as the “me” generation or the selfie generation. We are perpetuated by the constant stream of media around us, and of course, the Internet.
We are Generation Y.
What most articles don’t tell you is how to get there. I’m well aware that the journey is what makes the destination worth it. People are never going to have the same paths, and we may find ourselves stuck in ruts sometimes. If there was anything I like to think I know about, I’d say I have an idea of how to navigate through the journey. I am not claiming to know everything, but I’ve met a variety of people from all around the world with different backgrounds that give me insight to build this collective list that I think can apply to everyone, while they are still in college or maybe even starting out. In fact, this is probably some pointers collected from more than a dozen people.
- Be realistic.
This is for everyone for everything. If you have to take out a $20,000 loan with a crazy 11.8% interest rate for only freshman year, consider the option of community college, accelerating on the 3-year graduation track, or something simple as commuting. There may be times for you to take out loans, but make sure it’s within modest reasoning for your undergraduate years. No one cares about your prestigious bachelors degree if it leaves you with nothing but hard to pay off loans.
- Become your own advisor.
THIS IS CRUCIAL! In my own experience, some advisors are really crappy and you have to do your own research on the graduation requirements for your major at school. I’ve gone through many advisors, and I find it’s best to be your own. Some of them will try to persuade you to take their classes and bash your own major. Yes, I realize my Biochemistry degree may get me nowhere without further schooling or connections, but the same applies to the Gender Studies department!! Seriously, it’s also vice versa. Choose what makes you happy and be reasonable with what you want to do with it.
- Set a few goals on what you can possibly do with your chosen major.
This is probably in relation to number one. I know a lot of people will say this, but it’s true. Find out what you can do with your major. Yes, I realize the classic desk job is there and that you might not even go down a path that’s related to your major. However, you are wasting a lot of money on the degree you love (hopefully), make use of it. If you fall under students whose college is completely paid for by parents, on full ride, or full grant, you are kind of excluded.
- Find internships/opportunities oriented towards what you think you might want.
Let’s say you found what you love, but aren’t 100% sure. THIS IS THE BEST THING YOU CAN DO! If you are someone who knows what you want to do but you realize this in the last semester of your senior year, finish that degree and dedicate your evenings for that one internship.
- HAVE FUN and MAKE MEMORIES!
At UIC, the motto that hit a lot of the seniors: Partying like freshman to forget that we’re seniors. This is the biggest truth you will ever know. College is a once in a lifetime chance. Make the most of it.
Take a chance and and spread your wings.