Tips to get ahead in your University Years

What advice would I give to my 20 year old self to get ahead in my college years?

Being the eldest in a Chinese family, who was good at math and science in high school, I didn’t have a lot of freedom to choose my major or what I wanted to be.  I always have a love for art and wanted to do something creative. There weren’t any YouTubers or blogger yet at the time, nor wedding planning is a career. I applied for architecture, which required a strong portfolio, but didn’t get accepted.  I went with engineering instead, because I got accepted and the starting salary is good.

It was a tough program with very little elective options.    I considered switching programs but didn’t know what I wanted, so I stuck with it. I graduated the program and landed on my first job at a telecom company.  That’s how I discovered my interest in project management, and I took more courses to get a designation. Other opportunities came along and the rest is history.

Here are a few advice to get ahead in your university years::
 


1.  Speak to people in the industry that you are interested in and learn about the career possibilities.  Volunteer and intern in the field to get a taste of what it is like, the good and the bad. This can help you make smarter choices in picking your major and electives.  What you learn at school can be theoretical at times, but you need some basic knowledge to get you started in the field.
 

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2. Pick a program that has an internship.  Previous work experience is so valuable when it comes to finding your first job.  If you worked as an intern in a big company, there is a big chance that you will get re-hired after stay in touch with them.  If your program doesn’t have internship, any relevant work experience is better than no experience. It is very easy to get sucked into working retail for extra pocket money, but it doesn’t help you in the long run.


3. Apply for an exchange program - I wished I did that at the time.  It is an eye-opening experience to live in a foreign country and learn a new language.  This also brings you exposure to companies abroad. Who knows whether you will stay in your hometown after graduation.  This also helps make your resume stand out as well.
 

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4. Develop your presentation and public speaking skills.  This is a skill that comes in handy at all times and will help you advance in your career.  Whether you are facilitating a meeting at work or presenting to the executives, you will shine if you are able to speak well in public.  Joining Toastmasters Club is an inexpensive way to polish your skills and meet professionals.

Good luck in choosing your majors.  I would love to hear how these tips have helped you.     

Stay real, 

Carmen