Navigating Freshman Year (career/general life mindset)
The college freshman year can be a wild ride. One minute you’re excited to be on your own, and the next you’re thinking about all the possibilities and opportunities ahead. It’s normal to feel a little uncertain about your future, but embrace the exploration and try to find what your interests and passions are.
Keep an open mind. College is the best time to try new things and discover yourself. Don’t be afraid to change your mind, switch majors, or take random classes that sound interesting. Taking classes in different fields can help you develop new skills and interests. Joining clubs, organizations, and extracurriculars is another great way to explore your interests and find like-minded friends.
Networking is key. Talk to upperclassmen, join online communities, attend speaker events, and leverage your LinkedIn. You never know who you’ll meet or what opportunities will come your way. Don’t hesitate to ask for help! You don’t always get to be a freshman, so ask away and learn as much as you can. Try finding a mentor as well, they can give you valuable guidance and insight into the careers you’re interested in, or life in general.
Go to career fairs. Although overwhelming, career fairs are a great way to learn about different jobs and meet professionals in your desired field. Even if you’re not ready to land a job yet, you can start building connections and learning more about how you can prepare for the future. When you are ready to gain some professional experience, check out the internships that many companies offer to underclassmen (e.g. Google STEP, Meta University, Deloitte Discovery, McKinsey Sophomore Business Analyst).
Go at your own pace. There are many things to keep track of as a freshman, but take the time to rest and relax. You may feel like you aren’t doing enough or aren’t moving fast enough – but it’s important to pause and reflect on whether you’re happy and fulfilled or trying to live up to the expectations of others.
Academic and career readiness is an ongoing process and your freshman year is just the beginning. There is no “right” time to have your life figured out… people are doing it every single day. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and enjoy the journey!