8 Things I Did RIGHT as a Student

– If you can’t tell by
the abrupt set change, I have moved. I am currently in the process
of building a new studio. But right now, it’s, well, kind of a mess. Bear with me for a while. I’ve got this temporary
set for a couple of days. Once I get this video
out, I will have time to build a proper set once again. But in the meantime, we got
to talk about some things that I did right in college. Now a few months ago, I did
a video called eight mistakes that I made as a student. That is a pretty big number of mistakes. I certainly made more than that. But I also did a few things right. Today, to create a
complement to that video, I wanted to go through eight things that I think that I did
correctly as a student and I think that you might want to apply a few of these lessons to your own life if you are a student. Some of these might even
be applicable to you even if you’re not a student. Let’s get into them. All right. The first thing
that I want to go ahead and pat my 18-year-old
self on the back for is taking jobs that existed outside of my area of focus or my major. Now when I went into college,
I majored in something called management information systems, which is basically the IT major. My goal originally was to
become a network technician. I was looking for jobs
specifically in the IT area. My first job in college
was actually working for the campus tech support department where I removed virus
from people’s computers and took support calls and answered emails and basically told people
to turn it off and on again. – Have you tried turning
it off and on again? – But during that same exact year, I also got a job that was, at my school, called being a Cyclone aide because we were the Iowa State Cyclones. This job was basically working as a student orientation assistant. During the summer, I gave campus tours, I stood in front of tons
of parents and students and answered all kinds of questions about the college experience. I also helped set up basically the entire
freshman orientation program. We booked speakers, we set up event areas. It was a job where I had
to wear a lot of hats. I also think it was the
most useful part-time job that I worked in college. Now I did all kinds of
other stuff as well. I worked as a web developer
both freelance and employed. I was an RA. I had lots of other jobs on the side. But that job in particular
gave me leadership skills, gave me communication skills both interpersonal communication skills and in the realm of public speaking. In general, it made me, forced me to become a more organized person. These qualities, organize, leadership, and communication and lots of others, employers are looking for these qualities in addition to domain-specific experience. Yes, your major is important and getting experience in that major area is something that I
definitely recommend you do as soon as you possibly can. But also be looking for
other jobs and experiences that give you the opportunity to build those other qualities. They’re really, really important. Secondly, I got really, really serious about using my calendar correctly
during my freshman year. This was something that was forced on me because right when I came into college, I got a job at the campus
IT center like I just said and every single week, this
free-for-all calendar of hours would open up. It was a first come, first served thing. If you were there, the moment
the calendar opened up, you could get whatever hours you wanted. You can tailor it around
your class schedule, which was awesome. But if you waited too long, usually we’re just picking the scraps and working midnight
shifts or 7:30 a.m. shifts, which those are okay for me, but still it was nice to have choice. The moment that I would grab
a slot on that work calendar, I would go and replicate that work slot on my personal Google calendar. This was really important
because my work schedule is changing every single week as a result and I also had a pretty
complicated class schedule. But that wasn’t all I was
doing with my calendar. The tip that I want to share with you here was something I started
doing really early on, which was looking ahead
at the academic calendar and at other calendars for organizations and other things like that and putting events on my
calendar well in advance. For example, I went and found the date at which I can sign up for
the next semester’s classes and I got that on my calendar and made sure I was awake and
ready to sign up for classes the moment I could. Again, it was a first
come, first served thing. I wanted to be first. All right. Item number three on the
list, I optimized my time and my schedule for extracurriculars rather than a heavy course load. Now there are gonna people in the comments who are really gung-ho
about double majoring. I’m sure many people have had
a great experience of doing so or compressing their
classes into fewer semesters so they could cut the cost of college. But for me, I viewed college as a concentrated bundle of opportunities. I was basically placing
myself in a geographical space where there is just all kinds
of opportunity around me. I realized that classes weren’t the only kind of opportunities. I knew that if I dedicated some of my time towards extracurriculars,
towards participating in clubs and being in the leadership
boards of those clubs, towards personal projects
like building my website College Info Geek, which
eventually became my career, or even part-time jobs on
campus, I knew that I would get a much more well-rounded
experience in college. Plus, I knew that employers were looking for real-world experience. They were looking for impressive projects where the student took initiative. You can get those in classes, but you can get a lot more
of them outside of class. I think that it’s a good idea to have a balance between
coursework and extracurriculars. Now we move on to item number four. It’s a brand new John Cena
poster from my door, of course. Actually item number four
was that I kept applying for scholarships all
throughout my college career. Now a lot of high schoolers go really hard on the scholarship application train up until they get to college. A lot of people think that scholarships are something that you worry about when you’re in high school and then you don’t worry about funding once you’re in your university experience, but there are a lot of
scholarships out there for current college students and even for graduate students. In fact, I won far more scholarships during my college career than I ever did in high school. During college, I won two different
entrepreneurship scholarships, one I think was from my
freelance website business, and then the second one later
on was for College Info Geek. Aside from those, which
obviously did involve a lot of extracurricular work, I also applied for general
college or business scholarships where I just had to fill
out a basic application and I won a couple off of that as well. I think that it would be
advisable to follow the path that my 19 and 20 and
21-year-old self took. Keep applying for scholarships all throughout your educational career. Unless the funding is
completely taken care of, you owe it to yourself to do it. All right. Item number five, as often as I could, I introduced myself to my new professors and teacher assistants at the beginning of each semester’s classes and
I also went to office hours. I didn’t just go to office
hours to ask for help. I would occasionally drop by office hours just to chat with the professor because I wanted to build relationships. Now looking back on all those efforts, I don’t have ongoing relationships with every single professor
that I ever had in college, but I do still stay in contact with a few of them every now and then. A lot of really good stuff came out of those relationships as well. Some of them were happy to
write letters of recommendation for internships and
scholarships when I asked them because they knew me and they
knew a little bit of my work. I was even invited to speak at the classes of a couple of them after
I graduated from college. I know this takes a little bit of effort, but everything worth doing does. Whenever you start a new semester, make it a point to at
least introduce yourself to your professors and try
to build that relationship. All right. Item number six, which might be a bit of a controversial item,
but I at least stand by it. I chose to live on campus in the dorms for my first two years of college. I have this decision on the list because it wasn’t my original plan. Back when I was in high school, I had plans to get an off-campus apartment with one of my friends from high school. We were both gonna get
part-time jobs on campus. We were just gonna pay the
monthly rent to live off-campus, which was a little bit
cheaper than the dorms and which would have
allowed us to pay monthly rather than all upfront each semester. That was big because we
didn’t want to take on loans. I had this entirely debt-free
mindset going into college, which is why I was gonna
move three miles off-campus. I was gonna get the part-time
job, all of that stuff. But then during the summer
leading up to my freshman year, I decided to go and read
every college prep book my public library had. One of those books was The
Naked Roommate by Harlan Cohen. I remember one of the pieces
of advice in that book being to live on campus for
at least the first year. His justification for
that was that it puts you in the middle of the action. All the opportunities are
so much closer to you. There’s an event on campus,
you don’t have to do the mental calculus of
whether or not it’s worth it to drive 30 minutes there and back, all that kind of stuff. You were just there. Also, if you live in the dorms, you can have your door open all the time. A lot of people will
just end up wandering in. That’s how you make friends. I took that book’s advice. Yes, I did end up taking
a couple of student loans to make that work. In hindsight, I probably
could have paid for it with part-time job earnings anyway. So, I would count that as
a little bit of a mistake. But I’m very glad I lived on campus. I met friends who are still
some of my best friends today. That book was right. I was placed right in
the middle of the action. At the drop of a hat, I
could go take advantage of an opportunity, which
I did many, many times. Now again, I realize this particular tip might be controversial both
for the financial aspect of it and for the fact that many
campuses do things differently. My campus was a very insular environment. Some campuses are just
in the middle of cities. It makes sense to get an apartment that isn’t affiliated with your school. The lesson that I really
want to share here isn’t to make sure you’re living
in on-campus dorms per se, but it’s to do whatever
you can to put yourself in the middle of the action. Put yourself as close to
the potential opportunities as you can especially during
that first and second year when you haven’t really figured
out what you want to do, you haven’t made as many friends yet, you’re still trying to establish yourself. Item number seven, which is quite related to item number six, I was constantly keeping my
eye out for opportunities. A lot of the buildings on my
campus had bulletin boards that I was constantly looking at. I also went and proactively followed a lot of the on-campus
departments and clubs on Twitter and Facebook. I kept tabs on the things
that were going on. But I didn’t just keep tabs mentally. What I want to share here
is to keep an eye out for opportunities but then
put them on your calendar. If you’re not sure whether
or not you want to do them or if you have time,
just mark them as TBA. Maybe even put them on a specific calendar for on-campus events. That way, on a day-to-day basis, you can go and look at what’s going on on your personal calendar
where it’s all nice and collected and decide whether or not you can actually make it to the things that you
put on that calendar. All right. Finally, number eight, I went
to every single career fair that I could. I put this item on the list because I remembered distinctly
during my freshman year, a lot of my friends
said, “I don’t need to go “to the career fair this year
because I’m only planning “on getting an internship
after my sophomore year, “after my second year of college. “What’s the point of going
to the career fair now? “It’s just a waste of my time.” But I saw it differently. I too only intended to get an internship after my sophomore year
because I was doing that student orientation job the summer after my freshman year. But I wanted to go to the career fair to meet people as early as I could because I figured if I met recruiters during my freshman year, then I would go to the career fair during my sophomore year again
and they would recognize me. The more they recognized me, the more rapport we established, the higher up I was probably
going to be on the shortlists of the hiring managers that they talk to. Additionally, going to
every single career fair meant that I was getting
a lot more practice talking with recruiters, pitching myself, telling them what I wanted
to do, what my skills were, what my experience was. This is difficult when you don’t have a lot of practice doing it. By going to every single career fair, every single networking
event that you have access to within your major and otherwise, you’re gonna get a lot of practice. Even if you end up talking
with recruiters at companies that you don’t really care about, you’re gonna one, make a connection, but two, you’re gonna get
practice that will be applicable for the recruiters and the companies that you really do care about. My suggestion is to go to
every career fair that you can even if you aren’t intending to get a job or an internship for a couple of years. It’s just good practice. Now in the first tip of this video, I talked about a few of the qualities that hiring managers and
recruits are looking for beyond simple major-level
or domain-level experience, things like organizational
skills or communication ability. In addition to those, these hiring managers are
also looking for things like adaptability and
problem-solving skills. They want to know if you can
independently apply yourself to a new and novel problem and solve it because if you can, then
you’re advantage their business and they’re probably
gonna want to hire you. Luckily, problem-solving and adaptability, these are traits that you can learn and get better at through practice. If you’re looking for a great resource for building those skills, you
should check out Brilliant. Brilliant is an excellently
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you might get stuck on. Now these problems are bite-sized. They’re not designed to frustrate you, but they are designed to
keep your interest level high and they’re also designed to improve your problem-solving skills along the way. Within their library, you’re gonna find a ton of different
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a daily learning habit. Most importantly, they’re from
a broad array of subjects. If you’re stuck within
a couple of subjects within their in-depth courses, this can be a great feature
for expanding your horizons and maybe finding something new that you might be interested in. If you want to try your hand with some of those daily problems or get into one of their in-depth courses, then go over to brilliant.org/thomasfrank
and just sign up. If you’re one of the first
83 people who does so, you’re also gonna get 20% off their annual premium subscription. Big thanks to Brilliant
for sponsoring this video and being a huge supporter of my channel and the work that I do. As always, guys, thank
you so much for watching. If you like this video, definitely hit that like button, so more people can find this channel. You can also subscribe right there if you want to get new videos every single week when they come out. You can also click right there to get a free copy of my book
on how to earn better grades. Watch one more video on
this channel right over here or follow me on Instagram @tomfrankly. Thanks for watching. I will
see you guys in the next one. Bye.


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