Ohio University is a great place to get involved and make a name for yourself in college. However, many students don’t know how to do this, as their busy academic and social lives tend to get in the way.
Have no fear; there are plenty of ways to make the most out of your academic and professional life while in Athens. Here are five ways to leverage yourself while in college:
Join as many student organizations as you see fit
Joining a student organization was one of the best decisions I ever made during my freshman year at OU. With an array of student organizations, from Student Senate to 4 Paws for Ability, students have many options to grow their leadership, communication, and professional skills. By getting more involved on campus, you also make long-lasting connections with others, such as faculty advisers and students in executive positions, who can serve as future references for jobs and internships.
As long as you make the time for these organizations, you will see yourself grow as a student and a person. If you’re hesitant about joining a student organization, just try one or two out at first, and then narrow down which organizations you can see yourself making an impact and enjoy going to in your free time.
Networking may seem intimidating at first, but it gets easier with time during your four years in college. Start by talking to the professors or faculty you are most comfortable with, especially if you’re looking for a reference or advice about your future. You can also make a LinkedIn account to connect with OU alum, industry professionals and professors to prove that you want to keep in touch with them beyond your four years.
It’s also important to go to networking events on campus when you hear of them, especially if they revolve around your major or career interests. OU has career fairs during the school year, and they are great opportunities to get your name out there.
Complete at least one internship experience before graduation
For most majors, completing at least one internship experience before graduation is important to show employers that you have been professionally involved in your desired field. It also shows that you’re willing to take on bigger challenges and opportunities, which will help you stand out among your peers. If you’re lucky, you will run into a former Bobcat who can help you network and apply for jobs in the future!
It’s also important to do an internship to see if you enjoy your future career. These experiences can show you what you do and don’t want to do in a job and how to work with people from different backgrounds.
Go to office hours, even if they seem scary
Going to office hours may seem scary, but it’s actually extremely beneficial if you want to get to know your professors better. It also will help you understand the content you’re learning in class on a deeper level, keeping you well-prepared for future exams and coursework. Also, going to these means that you truly care about your academics and professors will be able to notice that the more you attend.
It also gives you some leverage with your professors, as they can advocate for you in the future with letters of recommendation and serve as references. Office hours give you the time to build a relationship with a professor – one that will surely serve you throughout your four years in Athens.
Working on campus
By having an on-campus job, you will meet people you usually wouldn’t interact with on a regular basis, which can help you make new friends and connections. It also proves to employers that you are willing to make an income as a college student, emphasizing your work ethic and determination.