By Karen Dahl
As graduation approaches, soon-to-be grads prepare for one of the most monumental days of their lives. With just less than a month left of my undergraduate career, I start to think about all of the people and the opportunities that guided me through the best four years of my life. Graduation is more than filling in bubbles on a degree audit, or checking off boxes to fulfill requirements. Graduation is a symbol of hard work, dedication, and motivation. All of these requirements and credits needed to graduate simply guide students, but the students have to take this initial push and go above and beyond the bare minimum requirements to ensure a purposeful undergraduate career.
Now, most of us recognize the importance of internships and becoming actively involved in extra-curricular activities. Certainly internships and extra-curriculars will sharpen confidence, professionalism, and a plethora of skills during college, but students must realize the simple opportunities and resources right under their noses. As a senior, I’d like to share some of the secrets to MY success in our very own CJ Department.
Relationships: The beauty of attending a smaller, division three university is that we have the opportunity to develop long-lasting relationships with not only our fellow CJ majors, but also with our CJ faculty. Professors are your best friends. This is not “sucking up” – this is a time to embrace maturity and have real, meaningful relationships with the people who are guiding you to a world of success. Prove to your professors that you are a motivated individual who is willing to learn and go above and beyond the requirements of their course curriculum. If you have questions, ask. If you need help, seek advice. If you are facing hardships in school (or even in your personal life) confide in your professors. Open relationships between faculty members and students are crucial to a successful college career.
Be Seen: As the saying goes, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. This proves to be true in many cases as the job search is in full force and many seniors are turning to networking and connections for a foot in the door to the real world. How do you get to know people? Where do you start? This all goes back to my relationships tip, however if you want to be known, stick around the department. Make your face known. The people in your department are in the field in which you will be pursuing a career. Put yourself out there – become a representative for the department at events or become a student apprentice. What better way to make yourself known? Be present. Be available. Be seen.
Embrace Your Classes: Sure, we all have classes that we hate. But the classes in your major are IMPORTANT. Appreciate the information your professors are giving you. Appreciate the speakers, the field trips, the papers, and the group projects. Do your very best to learn about your desired field and improve your skills. Don’t just meet requirements to earn a grade. Appreciate the value of your education, and you will be successful.
Students have several different approaches to making the most of their undergraduate careers. These are the things that helped me through my four years of college. The CJ Department is filled with inspirational faculty, excellent courses and hard-working students. Take advantage of what is at your fingertips. When you consider your department faculty and classmates family, you have succeeded.
Dahl is a senior organizational communication major with a topical minor in event planning. She’s the station manager at WUEC-FM, the VP of Activities for the American Marketing Association and the VP of the Event Planning Association. Dahl hopes to pursue a career in communication consulting.