Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google, and Steve Wozniak of Apple. What do all these names have in common? They all started work on these globally successful businesses before they’d left college.
Yes, college is demanding — there’s a heavy workload, classes to attend and most students choose to also work part-time, in and outside of semesters. Yet, your everyday life in college is also brimming with inspiration; it’s unlikely you’ll be surrounded by people from such different walks of life, with their own story to tell, ever again. You never know where a conversation will take you, and so using this time to build a successful career in your chosen field seems like optimal timing.
Here are a number of ways you can sow the seeds of a successful career, while continuing to maintain a healthy grade point average.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Give yourself reasonable ambitions and achievable expectations — set monthly goals, and only move on to bigger ones if you’ve got the time to get the foundations right.
Think small, and think local — if you’ve always wanted to launch a coffee brand, get a part-time job in a café, and make sure by the end of your second year you’re an expert in all things caffeinated. Then, if you’re ready, you can look into renting a cart and selling coffee off campus in your third year. The mind of an entrepreneur knows when to take risks, and when to sit back and learn from the existing professionals.
Look for a school that supports your job of choice
You may want to buckle down and get your studies done as quickly as possible (to get on the job market and start your career), or perhaps you dream of breaking into a hugely competitive career path that takes years of study and work experience. If it’s the latter, then you may be faced with university choices, which then lead onto your Masters and even further. If you want to be a teacher, for example, then you’ll need to undergo years of training. Schools such as New England College offers students the opportunity to continue studying from their undergraduate program, all the way to a Doctorate of Education, if they wish to improve leadership skills and enter the workforce of education.
Work with your friends
There’s a reason many companies are created by friends — you share interests and passions, you know you’d work well together, and you want to be in each other’s lives for a long time.
If you’ve identified classmates as having high potential as business partners, then don’t delay in propositioning them.
Don’t be afraid to ask for advice
The concept of ‘networking’ might make you feel uncomfortable, but perhaps it would help to re-frame it in your mind. Many people network with one another, and in today’s competitive market, there’s no harm in befriending people for work opportunities. If there’s a faculty member or senior student whose footsteps you’d like to walk in, and you’d like their opinion on your business idea — just ask. The worst they can do is decline the request, but chances are they’ll be flattered and will likely agree. Offer to buy them a coffee, and see what you can learn.
Whether you want to start your own business while still at school, or you wish to finally discover the career you’ll love to start, making the most of your college years can ensure you know where you’re heading in life. Start small, but think big; spend time deciding your school and what it has to offer – after all, the degree you select will greatly influence the career you end up in.
Founder Dinis Guarda
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