By Alex Koumas
Co-Account Executive, AVW Productions
As I enter the beginning of my last and final year at Ohio University, I feel it is only appropriate to look back upon these past three years and evaluate what I would have done differently and what I believe I took full advantage of during my time here. Now, I am not only talking about social events and of course, meeting as many people as possible, but about taking advantage of all of Ohio University’s resources that will help to strengthen your overall skills as a young professional, and what can help you land an amazing internship or post-grad employment. Starting out as a freshman you find yourself submerged with an abundance of information about classes, the “hot spots” around campus, directions, clubs, organizations, and the list doesn’t seem to end. As a freshman, I feel that many individuals find it irresistible, or even unimaginable, to say no to any opportunity that may fall into their lap. Let’s be honest, we want to meet as many people as possible because many of us enter college only knowing enough people to count on one hand, and we want to stretch that number to who knows, ten hands!
Looking back on my time at Ohio University, I have constructed a list of different resources that I feel students, of any age, need to be aware of and also realize that these resources are available not only all day, but everyday. Even though many of us feel that being at a mid-size school, our advisers, teachers, and faculty do not honestly care about our success during college let alone outside of college. Now, the first step to realizing and appreciating all of our resources, is to recognize that all of these individuals DO care about us, and they are all here to help us succeed during our time in college and most importantly, after we leave. Although many of us have heard of these so-called “resources” since the first day that we have stepped onto College Green during move-in weekend at the College Involvement Fair, I still firmly believe that they are all very important and necessary in helping us to achieve our goals.
Below are the five key ingredients to making your college experience at Ohio University exciting, rewarding and downright the best four years of your life. Because, let’s be honest one more time, we all go to college to be successful in our preferred career some day.
- Advisers—From the day you find out who your designated adviser will be at orientation, this individual will be your number one go-to person for any of your college needs, and this includes mini meltdowns about not getting into a class that you so desperately needed. They are trained to be knowledgeable regarding all of the courses that you need to take and when you need to take them to ensure that you graduate on time, or even early. I have known too many friends or classmates that I have told me that when the time comes every quarter to go and schedule a meeting with their adviser, they don’t because their advisers “don’t know anything.” But, this is complete nonsense. I have visited my adviser every quarter since I was a freshman, and he has guided or advised me every step of the way. I’ll be honest, I have had a few of those mini breakdowns about not getting into the class that I REALLY wanted and needed. The most important thing to keep in mind during your time in college is to take advantage of your adviser’s knowledge, because they know best (they never really left college to forget how to do everything), and they will be able to help you every step of the way, and it is possible to graduate on time with all of your required credits.
- Professors—Now, I know that when many people first ready “professors,” they think there is no way that I am going to become buddy-buddy with my professor. Coming straight out of high school, many would define this is a “class pet” and no one wants to be labeled as one. But, professors are there to help you to be successful during your time in college, even if that means it may only last for 10 weeks. Developing relationships with your professors is crucial for every student, because creating these relationships will only help you in the long run. Professors can become references, write you letters of recommendations, or even connect you with outside individuals that may have an interesting internship or a job calling your name.
- Peers—Your classmates will be the best networking tool that you will have throughout your entire time at Ohio University. This is probably the best advice that one of my classmates freshman year told me (she had an older sister, so she was already ahead of the game), it was to network with your classmates, especially those in classes that were required for your major because they may know someone who knows someone who could assist you in landing your dream internship. Your classmates are there to succeed, and helping another student that may have a similar interest never hurt anyone. This past year I applied to Cardinal Health’s internship program, and before withdrawing from the program to do what I really dreamed of doing, I made sure to tell all of my friends that were in the public relations or communications field about this amazing opportunity. I would advise you not to think of finding an internship as a competition, because we are all here to succeed and everything will end up working out how it is destined too. Keep your head up, and help those around you.
- Career Services—This resource has helped me the most my past three years, and I cannot thank Career Services enough. As freshmen enter college, many of you will not yet have a resume. But, I would advise you before even starting to create your own resume to take a trip to Career Services, located on the fourth floor in the Baker Center. These individuals know what potential employers are looking for on your resume, such as what information is really important (i.e. experience, skills, honors, etc.). It can be frustrating that as soon as you get to college all of your hard work in high school really does not account for anything, but the individuals at Career Services can help you create a beginning resume that will build up over the next few years. Also, before applying for internships, Career Services holds mock interviews and these individuals critique your skills and inform you of what you are doing correctly and what you need to work on before the big day. These interviews helped me tremendously my sophomore year, because I feel more confident entering each interview since I know to play up my weaknesses and let my strengths carry me through the interview. Lastly, attend all Career and Internship Fairs because even though they may not have information regarding your preferred career, networking with as many companies as possible is always beneficial.
- Clubs/Organizations—Last, but not least, clubs and organizations are going to mold who you are as a student and young professional throughout your time at Ohio University. Here you will strengthen your skills to help you interact with diverse individuals and it provides you with an opportunity to become a leader. This is also where you may find your best friends during your time in college. My best advice is to attend the College Involvement Fair because every club and organization will be present handing out information regarding their club and what it’s the “best,” but stay open-minded and if you take over 50 flyers, that is okay. Just remember that joining a club is like being in a relationship, it may be stressful at times because you don’t want to let anyone down, but in the end it is very rewarding. Try clubs out, you are not tied down to one club, if you don’t think it is right for you then politely excuse yourself and find another that fits your personality and interests. We are all here to help you get to where you want to be, whether that be ImPRessions or a club sport, pick what’s best for you.
Although this list may seem exhaustive, I could continue on for days about all of the resources that Ohio University has to offer every student of every major and interest. If you need help finding those, then don’t be shy and ask someone because we are all here to help. These resources are the reason that I have had three internships and an abundance of experience in clubs and organizations. They have helped me to grow as an individual and develop into a young professional prepared to enter the workforce in just ten months. I wish you all the best of luck during your time at Ohio University, because I know you will all succeed and have a blast while doing it.