OPINION: Words of wisdom to underclassmen from graduating senior

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We are just over a month away from the end of the school year. For some of us, summer break can’t come soon enough. For others who are in the same position as I am, we are entering into a permanent summer break that I like to call “graduation.”

As I sit and reminisce about my time here at K-State, I can’t help but think about advice I would give to underclassmen who will soon be in my shoes. The things I wish I’d known center around networking, future planning and internships.

Networking

Four years ago, I came to K-State as a western-Pennsylvania native. Admittedly, it was difficult to be in a new environment where I didn’t know anybody, however, I’m glad that I chose a school so far away.

Through social interaction and networking, I was able to meet a lot of great people with promising futures.

More than 37 percent of college freshmen select a college that is no more than 50 miles away from home. On the other hand, only 14 percent choose a college that is further than 500 miles away, according to CBS News article by Lynn O’Shaughnessy, “20 facts you didn’t know about college freshmen.”

While going to a school close to home comes with benefits, including increased chances of knowing the people you are going to school with, the process of networking in college can help make friendships that last a lifetime.

Forbes asked a staffing group called Manpower Group how their clients found jobs. In 2010, the group said that 41 percent of their clients found a new job through networking. Surprisingly, only 4 percent found a job through online networks, according to Forbes article by Susan Adams called, “Networking is still the best way to find a job, survey says.”

Networking can also help you get a job that may not even be publicized.

“At least 70 percent, if not 80 percent, of jobs are not published,” said Matt Youngquist, president of Career Horizons, in a National Public Radio segment, “A successful job search: It’s all about neworking.”

Youngquist proves that the cliche, “It’s all about who you know,” is actually very true.

College sets us up to meet many people, the more people you meet, the better chance you have of meeting someone who could potentially help you in your professional career.

Future planning

Do not be obsessive about planning your future.

One piece of advice that I wish I had known four years ago is that it pays to be multifaceted. It wasn’t until I got into my last year or two at K-State that I understood the value of dexterity. Today’s professors, especially at K-State, are emphasizing dexterity as a way of preparing their students for the future.

As a journalism and mass communications major who plans on going to graduate school for sports management, dexterity will play a big role in my ability to succeed in my professional career.

As a result of students being taught to be multifaceted, students are being displaced into many different professions.

Getting a job unrelated to your major is far more common than people think, according to Washington Post article “Only 27 percent of college grads have a job related to their major” by Brad Plumer.

Another piece of advice is to not stress over having a job lined up after graduation. Very few people get their dream jobs straight out of college.

As a matter of fact, you can get ahead by going to career fairs, according to Washington Post article, “More than 4 out of 5 students graduate without a job. How could colleges change that?”

K-State holds many different career fairs each semester, and even if you are only an underclassman, it is the perfect place to put your networking skills to work.

Internships

Some departments at K-State require their students to complete an internship to earn their degrees, however, others don’t.

Internships are the best way to get hands-on experience and make connections within your field.

Twenty-five percent of students say they were able to turn an internship into a career, according to Daily Caller article, “14 percent of this year’s college grads have real jobs waiting.”

Something I’ve learned from my time at K-State is that families help each other out. After four years of the K-State family helping me out, I guess you could say these tips are my own personal way of paying it forward.

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