For the past 3 1/2 years, college has consumed most of my life. Now that I am two months away from graduating, I realize that there are so many things that I would have done differently. It is too bad that there is not a such thing as a time machine because I would have had the perfect college career, in my eyes ;).
As a freshman, I would have become more involved with on-campus organizations as a freshman. I dabbled in a few activities but I was never consistent with any of them. The only thing I was worried about was classes and my work-study job. Coming from a family of limited means, money meant a lot in my life. I refused to go through college without having the means to buy the things I wanted. I did have a minor marketing internship with a company called OnPoint Media Group as promoting local artists at local venues as well as via social media. After my advisor for my internship left the company, and so did I.
After my first year, I did not do anything to help with my career as a future marketer. I went home for the summer hoping to find a job. That was THE ultimate fail. No one hired me and I ended up spending a lot of money but had no way to earn it back during those three months.
When my sophomore year at UNCG was completed, I successfully obtained a marketing internship with the state of North Carolina. I was the summer travel counselor at The North Carolina Welcome center off I-95 in Roanoke Rapids, NC. This was great because this was a full-time position over the summer while still having quality time with my family. I have to interact with different types of people all over the world. I met two WWII veterans and people from countries such as Canada, Mexico, Germany, Switzerland, India, and many others.
All of these tourists would want something to do while they were either in NC or on their way through NC. They had options such as visiting our state capital of Raleigh, where there are many historical buildings and museums to choose from to visit. North Carolina is known for our great bar-b-que so there was is bar-b-que that our tourists could go on or if they were into pottery, they could visit Seagrove, which is our pottery capital. North Carolina has the best of worlds, mountains and sea. Being a marketing major, I could look at a particular party of people and guest the best attraction for them to visit. If there were a mom with three kids running around our center, I would tell them about a local water park in Fayetteville just off the I-95 corridor. If they an older couple were way to Tennessee I would tell them to drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway where they would get amazing views of the mountains of NC, especially during Fall when the leaves change colors.
After my first official internship experience, which I got college credit for ;), I realized that there is more out there than just going home from college. My junior year was when I moved out on my own and located in Greensboro. I was more active in college, joining the Legal Professions Association for aspiring lawyers as well as an Iota Omega chapter member Delta Sigma Pi, an international fraternity organized to foster the study of business in universities. Delta Sigma Pi really opened my eyes up to getting more involved within the Greensboro community. I love to volunteer.
As a senior, I recently completed a semester long internship through a company called EdVenture Partners. This company collaborates with universities across the nation to help students get hands-on real-world experience in the marketing field. Our class did a marketing campaign for Terry Labonte Chevrolet for the new Chevrolet Cruze. I was the marketing research coordinator and my group conducted qualitative and quantitative research. We also conducted a focus group that I moderated. Now I am working with two different groups on two different marketing projects. One project, we found a company to market and sell their product to a foreign country. The other project our group is assigned the task of developing a yearlong marketing strategy for a local Triad commercial printing company.
To wrap up my posts I would like to suggest a few things for future college residents to do:
1) Utilize social media for your career. Although social media has been known to be for social aspects, companies now look at your Facebook or Twitter to see if you are conducting yourself in a manner in which the company would agree on. What you post and what you tweet is all being stored by the Library of Congress, even if you erase it later. Once it is on the internet, it is no longer private.
2) Start a blog. I had another blog through another website but I never got the hang of it so I left it alone. To me a blog is like a virtual journal but it is not as intimate because it will be for the public to see. Blogs should be as professional as possible but you can be creative in designing the layout so have fun with it. Express yourself!
3) Always find something productive to do in your downtime. Try to be as productive towards your degree as possible. This could be getting a summer job or summer internship. Traveling could even be productive, but as long as you are learning, to me you are being productive.
4) Use your school’s resources. I really need to listen more to this one myself but it’s too late for me know that I’m graduating in two months. UNCG offers a variety of products and services free (well it is not free, because your tuition pays for it) and many people do not use them. My school’s career services center is a great resource for students interested in obtaining an internship, part-time and full-time jobs, temporary positions, etc. They hold etiquette dinners that I wish I had signed up for and career fairs that I went to every time one was held.
5) Get involved on campus. Going to just classes while you are in college can be boring. It says the only thing you have to look forward to is a quiz or an exam. College life can be fun if you let it! One organization that I would really recommend joining, no matter what school you decide to go to, is your school’s campus activities board. The name can vary (student activities board, campus activities committee, student activities and programs, etc.) This organization is responsible for holding fun activities on your school’s campus such as inflatables, game shows, concerts, comedy shows, hypnotists, and so much more! It is a great way to network and meet great people. It is also a great way to become a leader on campus. I know many people that are in a social fraternity/sorority. My advice for joining those is to do it early on in your college career. This is because you will want to put as much time and work in the organization as possible. In addition, the process of pledging may be time consuming and as an upperclassmen, your core classes are during the last two years of your college career and those two may not mix well.
As I look back on the few years of college, yes I would have done things differently. I would have made more mistakes and gotten lost more but I’m happy with my life and as I look to the future, I know the decisions I’ve made has made me a better personal as well as business woman overall. I’m happy with how I came to be and excited for what the future holds for me and my mistakes I’ve made 😛