Whether this is your first or last spring semester, the spring term can be quite challenging. Most students will carry a full course load, even as they prepare for a summer internship, a summer job, or the summer/fall semester. No matter where you currently are in your college career, the spring term can seem like the semester when you really begin to think about what you would like to do next in your life.
So, with that in mind, here are three tips to help you start the spring semester off right:
1. Begin planning for the perfect internship
Assuming that you are not graduating in May, consider starting your semester by preparing for the internship search. If you have not yet done so, take a moment to envision your ideal internship. What field interests you? Would you like to work for a startup, or for a large, established company? Cast a wide net with your research—your college advisor, as well as your career services office, current and past professors, and even upperclassmen, can share valuable internship insights.
Once you decide on the ideal internship, form a plan to achieve it. Perhaps one of the individuals that you consult with (such as an advisor or professor) has a connection at your target company. You can also explore the various extracurricular activities and classes that can help you build a strong resume (see below for more information).
2. Emphasize “real world” experience
As you consult with your advisor, professors, and peers, you may find that they offer answers that revolve around one general piece of advice: “Garner real world experience.” One of the most common suggestions—to participate in community projects or extracurriculars—is also useful outside of the context of an internship search.
This is largely because the type of learning that you explore through these opportunities is very different from the learning you gain in your classes. Your coursework provides you with the academic foundation you will need to be successful, but real world learning opportunities help you to apply that learning. If you can combine both of these learning styles this semester, you will be well on your way to a successful future.
3. Strategically schedule your classes
If you are a second-semester freshman who has not yet completed any classes within your prospective major, schedule at least one this term. You will not know if this concentration is truly right for you until you explore it. Similarly, if you are a second-semester freshman with no major in mind, consider using the spring term to simultaneously fulfill your general education requirements and to weigh your options. You may unexpectedly find that a major in kinesiology or textile design is exactly what you would like to do with your life.
If you have already declared a major, meet with your advisor to ensure that you are current on your requirements. Applying yourself in the spring—including taking a difficult or rarely-available course now—can free you to pursue an interesting elective class, a minor, or an internship or study abroad opportunity.
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