Overcoming Freshman Pressures


Q.  You advise students to become involved in outside activities.  That sounded good before I started my freshman year in college two months ago, but I’m now finding it impossible.  I’m carrying a full load of classes, plus seeking a part-time job, so I’m having trouble keeping up with the basics.  In fact, I’m beginning to feel a little buried.  Does this doom my future job chances?   -SM

A.  As you know from observing your friends, you are not alone in feeling freshman-year pressure.  You’ve got almost four years to build a strong resume, although you’ll still want to do things now to enhance your chances of landing relevant summer jobs. 

Start small.  Many campus and community organizations are eager for volunteers, and you can set your own schedule.  I don’t know what your part-time job entails, but keep an eye out for a job that helps build your resume.  While in college, I was paid for working on the campus newspaper, plus I got a 10-hour-a-week job with the local community paper.  These experiences added two relevant bullet points to my resume and helped land a daily newspaper internship the next summer.  

As for the many other pressures facing you and other students, you might want to scan the Campus Grotto’s helpful list of 100 Tips for college survival.  The list carries useful suggestions ranging from study tips to student finance and social life. 

3 thoughts on “Overcoming Freshman Pressures

  1. Agreed- if there is a certain non-profit in your area that supports a topic you’re fond of- pitch an internship idea to them. Show what relevant skills you posses that could be beneficial to their growth and add that you can dedicate X number of hours per week to working with them.

    Most non-profits will be eager to take you up on your offer, not to mention civic engagement/volunteering also adds a great dimension to your resume!

  2. Don’t worry, the first semester is definitely the hardest. I didn’t even work my first term at school. But then I got used to things, into the swing of it all a little more. It wasn’t long before I had an overload of courses and a part time job, with many leadership roles.

    You can do it, you just might not be able to right away. Everyone takes time to adjust, and if you relax a bit now and learn good habits, it will pay off later.

  3. I’m about to graduate from college, take my word for it– you absolutely positively need to get involved on campus! Having a part-time job is pretty much necessary in college; I’ve worked at the school paper, in retail at the mall, and in restaurants.
    But the real value of college (besides the education, of course) comes from involvement in student activities. You’ll make tons of new friends and learn skills that a single job may not be able to provide you. Also, employers like to see that you did more than just work and study; they need to know you can work on a team, work with an array of personalities, and have leadership skills.
    To start, I suggest finding an organization on campus that pertains to your major, like Women in Engineering, Management Student Council, or Public Relations Student Society of America. Good luck!

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