A Senior's Perspective: Going Beyond the Textbooks

This week’s topic couldn’t exactly be done in a week. Going beyond the textbooks by finding quality experience is something that needs to be done continually throughout our college careers. However, I will take this time to reflect on some things I’ve done and ways you can too!

In order to find quality experience in your field, you must first know your field. If you don’t, please go to www.auburn.edu/career and click on the Career Assessments tab. Take an assessment or two, and then come see a career counselor to discuss your results. You may not leave your career counseling session with a major, but it gets you a step closer by knowing your strengths and weaknesses.

If you are the lucky college student who actually knows what you want to do with your life, then get on it! In the Career Rookie article “6 Tips for Success All College Seniors/ New Grads Should Know,” Heather Huhman, founder and president of Come Recommended, said, “A degree isn’t going to be your golden ticket to gainful employment, worthwhile experience is.”

Here are some things you can do:

1.    Join a major-related club or organization. Many majors at Auburn University offer specialized clubs for each major. For instance, COSAM has Alpha Epsilon Delta, Medical D and a Pre-Pharmacy Club. In my major, public relations, we have PRSSA, which is a precursor for PRSA, the club for public relations professionals. Any of these clubs show that you care about the latest trends in your field and that you care about furthering your knowledge and abilities in your field.

2.    Gain volunteer experience. Volunteering, no matter the cause or organization, is a valuable thing to do. It puts you in contact with a diverse group of people and forces you to work toward the same end goal. It also shows that you care about your community and the people in it. Even better, get involved in a volunteering organization like Project Uplift or IMPACT that allows you to volunteer weekly. Another great thing about volunteering is that is doesn’t usually require previous experience or involvement. Even if you have never done anything else, you can still volunteer!

3.    Obtain and internship in your field. It seems that these days obtaining a job without an internship is nearly impossible. Employers like to hire people who have actually put their book knowledge to use. Luckily, many Auburn University majors require an internship. If yours doesn’t, consider a summer internship or come to the Career Center for more information on our job shadowing program. This program puts you in contact with professionals in the Auburn/Opelika area that you can observe for a day.

4.    Leadership, leadership, leadership. What is better than being involved? Leading the involvement. Once you find your niche, take on more responsibility. Whether it is your volunteer organization, social sorority or fraternity or professional organization, gaining leadership experience is crucial. No, you don’t have to be president of everything. If you can be and want to be, go for it! However, you can also become team captain or the manager of a club project.

Paige Robinson '12
Career Center Intern

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