Getting the Most Out of College
Farmers & Merchants Savings Bank hosted Marshall Lyons this summer as an intern. As his final assignment with FMSB, he was asked to share his thoughts on his college experience so far. What you read below are his words. Some thoughtful insight and good advice on how to make the most out of these pre-career years.
College is structured to start you down a path to a successful career, but it also builds the foundation for the rest of your life. Take the years at school as a time to exhaust all chances to see what the world has to offer. Explore every opportunity that sounds interesting. Treat school like your future employer is watching and absorb everything people have to say.
Like trying on clothes at a department store, careers require their own fitting rooms. You see items on the clothes racks that look nice, but surely you must head to the fitting room to ensure the fit is right. Careers are much the same way. We often see jobs that appear great after hearing the hours and salary, but the ins and outs of the occupation are unknown. College is the ideal time to ‘try on’ these careers in the form of course work, job shadowing, and internships. Course work dives to the inner workings of many professions and can serve as a high-level sorting mechanism to see what fits your desires. Job shadowing and internships also give an extensive look at a profession. Personally, I have valued the internships I have been involved with because they provided me this extensive look at a profession. My participation in two internships presented me with the chance to ‘try on’ some of these different opportunities.
Beyond summer jobs and internships, many students do not have a large resume of work experience built towards their careers. Since people moving on from college are lacking experience, most hiring staffs need to base your ability off school work. I hear people complain about jobs clearing out applicants based solely on GPA, but that is the only proven body of work you have. When you hand out resumes at a career fair the recruiters see your GPA first, whether it is a good or bad, they often make first judgment on that number. Treat your school work like an employer is passing judgement on everything you do.
Some of the most intelligent individuals I have met are people from college. Sure, the professors are amongst the smartest people I have ever known, but at college you are exposed to vast demographics of students in a small vicinity. Use college as a time to talk with people who grew up differently than you. Assimilate yourself with their position and use their stories to develop a stronger world view.
I have learned a lot through my three years of college, but I still have plenty to learn. Most people are presented with ample opportunities in school, and likely no two individual’s paths will look the same. I do not expect anyone to follow my exact path, but ideally some of what I have learned can be helpful to others. College is a time filled with opportunities, so take time to assess each experience. Whether it be the classroom or on the job, be sure to work as if you are being evaluated by your future boss. Keep in mind, college is a time to ‘try on’ these different experiences and welcome new knowledge. The idea is to leave school fully prepared for a long-lasting career, and the best life possible.