Do you have a plan for your college life? Or you just follow the timetable set by your school? Do you want to make your 4 years in college more memorable and probably slightly different from your peers? Here are the five things that you should do before you say farewell to your alma mater.
Find a community you belong
Just being a student of a university is not good enough. Your life will be exponentially more fulfilling if you manage to find your own small community to which you belong.
There are just so many ways to find your own community. Instead of searching from without, you need to start thinking from within. What do you like the best after school? What pulls you out of bed every morning? Once you come up with a personal list, look around to see if such a community exists. The easiest way is to start with the clubs in your university. Go for the ECA fairs or look into the official list of clubs made by your university (and it can usually be found online by a simple search).
Remember, not all clubs are represented during the ECA fairs or even recognized by the university. Some clubs are voluntarily organized without getting official recognition. You may find such unofficial clubs through their Facebook advertisement, posters around the campus or words of mouth.
And your sphere is not restricted to your campus. There are many outside school organizations where you can find like-minded people. Many international organizations have chapters in Singapore, such as the World Vision, Toastmaster and many others. A simple googling will help you discover their existence.
Go for exchange
This may be one of the sweetest parts of being a university student. Universities around the world provide you the internal passport where you can travel to different countries with much greater ease compared to a usual tourist. And it is an opportunity you definitely do not want to miss.
Your university should have heavily advertised their going-abroad programs. They differ in terms of their nature (study or work?) and duration (one semester or two weeks during the holidays?). Choose the one that fits your time and financial situation the best.
The benefits of going for exchange are immense. You get to breathe in a different culture. You get to meet different people and take classes with a different perspective. You can live a much slower life and recharge yourself before you dive into the hectic environment of Singapore. Let Digital Senior guarantee you: the experience of going for exchange is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
If you face financial difficulties, check out the financial assistance scheme provided by your university. They range from small grants to extensive loans.
Explore some research projects
Digital Senior knows that research is not for everybody. But exploring research is not the same thing as being a researcher. What you may want to do is to get a taste of it. One of the hallmarks of a university education is that you can fully stretch your intellect; and doing some research is one of the most excellent ways to do so. It enables you to go beyond what you study in textbook and see how the theories are really being applied to real problems, not just exam questions.
There are many ways for you to get a taste of research. Once you have settled on an area of interest, find out if there are research programs for undergraduate students. Some universities have such programs in place where one student is attached to one professor and do a semester-long research.
But if the formal program is not available, try to approach your professors directly. Probably you find his class very interesting and want to pursue further to gain more understanding. Make a good first impression and be straightforward in your asking. They definitely appreciate your initiative. Even if they don’t have a suitable project available, they may refer you to one of their colleagues. One thing leads to another.
Get career ready
This is a whole category of things that you may want to do before you graduate. Finding a job is not easy in the current market and you definitely want to make your transition into working life more smooth. How to get career ready while you are still in university?
You need to have a rough idea about what you want to do for your career. This usually requires you to attend career talks, visit your career coaches in the university career office or do some online reading about different industries.
Moreover, do you have a name card that you can easily give out when meeting people you want to keep in touch with? Your university career office has name card printing services, but they can’t do that for you one day before you go for a networking session. Get it done early.
And do you have a presentable resume? Have you had it vetted through by someone else for format, phrasing and as simple as grammar mistakes?
And of course, it is always good to have an internship before you graduate. Having work experiences will give you an advantage when you are looking for full time jobs. Get busy for your summers! Use websites such as Gradconnect to source for your internship.
Get into a relationship
This is a more personal issue and your “relationship status” largely depends on your choice. Generally speaking, university is a time where you explore the relationship issue seriously, since you have entered serious adulthood.
And relationship developed during your university life is ‘more pure’ in the sense that considerations for status, income and family background do not play as big a role as when you have started working. It is a good time to learn how to interact with your boyfriend/girlfriend, something your professors will never teach you.
At the end of the day, you take charge of your own life in university. There may be hundreds of things that you want to do before you graduate. The above five things are for your considerations, and are probably good starting point for you to charter your next few years of life.