It's hard to believe those summer days are slowly drifting away. The start of the next school year is just around the corner and there are a few things you should check off your to-do list before heading back.
1. Update Your Resume
The summer is ending, which means so is your summer internship or job! Don't let all your hard work go to waste, be sure to update your resume with all the great work you did. Before your last day, ask your supervisor to glance over your newly updated resume. Sometimes the hardest thing about putting an internship or job down is figuring out how to word it. You want to make sure you're not over-exaggerating your duties or downplaying your work. Your boss can help edit the perfect description that accurately summarizes what you did over the summer. Don't forget to ask your supervisors and colleagues if they have a LinkedIn profile, this will become important for the next order of business.
2. Update Your LinkedIn Profile
Don't just stop at updating your resume. It's imperative that you also update your LinkedIn profile to maximize your opportunity for networking relations and future jobs. First things first, make sure you have an appropriate photo. Leave those party photos on your private Instagram account or more importantly, in your phone where an employer can't find them. Upload a photo that portrays you in the best light. If you don't have a professional headshot, don't freak out. Use your iPhone camera to take a good photo of you in front of a plain background. Next, be sure to add your experience from your summer internship. Stick to two or three concise bullet points and be sure to leave out any technical terminology that wouldn't make sense to people who didn't work in your office. Scroll down to the skills section and add those new skill sets you picked up at your internship over the last several weeks. After you've updated your profile, you'll want to connect with your supervisor and colleagues. It's a perfect way for you to stay in contact, network and keep them up to date on what you are doing. Ask them to endorse your skills or write a recommendation on your work performance. Checking this off your to-do-list will help you land your next internship or job.
3. Grab your textbooks online to avoid high university bookstore prices
In the midst of welcome week activities, moving into your new place and catching up with friends, it's easy to forget that classes actually start in just a few days. There's nothing that can ruin your spirit for higher learning like the cost of books, especially at your university's bookstore. Before the hectic move-in week starts, look for used textbooks online. Buying your books used always leads to you saving money but you may want to wait until after the first week of school to actually purchase them. Most professors openly admit during the first class that you won't need all the books on the syllabus. Don't forget, you can sell your old textbooks and make some extra cash.
4. Find a Good College Cookbook
Saying good-bye to home cooked meals is probably the worst thing about returning back to college. We all know food is expensive, especially after you're no longer a freshman and don't have swipes to get into the college cafeteria. To avoid dishing out all your money on food or spending weeks eating top ramen and cup of noodles, buy a good cookbook. You can also find a free recipes online that are not only easy to make but are also cheap, healthy, and most importantly -- tasty! Cook with your roommates or friends to cut down the costs. Nothing like bonding over a meal you cooked together.
5. Set Goals
Whether it's financial, academic or fitness -- set goals for the upcoming semester or quarter. Think hard about some area of your college life that you want to improve and focus on it, setting objectives, a schedule or a way you can achieve it. Setting goals before the semester starts can help you stay focused when things start to get hectic. If you want to save more money, decide what percentage of your check should go into your savings account. If you're planning to bring up your GPA, plan not to miss a day of class and make an active commitment to attend your professor's office hours frequently. If you want to shed the extra weight you gained from all those home cooked summer meals, find a friend who wants to do the same. You're more likely to achieve your fitness goals together by holding each other to a weekly workout schedule.
6. Start Thinking About Life After College
Everything good must eventually come to the end. College is no exception. While the end can seem months or years away, it will truly be here before you know it. It's okay to not know exactly what you want to do but try to avoid waiting until your final semester of college to start thinking about what that is. Identify your skills and start creating a list of jobs you could actually see yourself doing after you graduate. Then figure out what you can do now to help make you the most ideal candidate for those positions. In any case, work towards something. Make the most of every single networking event, career fair or reception your school has to offer. Remember it's not who you know but who knows you.
7. Relax and Enjoy the Journey
You've heard it before. "College is the best time of your life." As I'm nearing my final semester of school, I couldn't find that statement to be more valid. I've screamed at the top of my lungs at football games, pulled all-nighters in the library, convinced myself that buying Starbucks everyday was totally worth it (which it wasn't), made the best of friends, traveled abroad and found myself in the midst of all the chaos. Know you'll mess up big time, procrastinate, stay up way too late, wait until the last minute to register for your classes and struggle to make it to your 8 a.m. science class on time, or at all. But when it's all said and done, it will be the best time of your life. Enjoy it and remember how lucky you are to receive an education.
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