Born and raised in Taiwan and later immigrated to the United States, Sabrina is a product of Western and Eastern influences and is fluent in both Chinese and English. After graduating from the University of Maryland with a BA in philosophy and a minor in astronomy
Some students graduate from college and enter the workforce as a perfect blank slate, with no prior working experiences. While that’s certainly not the end of the world, it’s a good idea to get some work experience during college if you can balance it with school.
Work-study programs on campus provide students the opportunity to get work experiences while making their own money. These jobs may have you perform administrative tasks at an office on campus, or provide cashier or retail support, reshelving library books, etc. While they may be completely unrelated to what you’d like to do after college, these jobs can give you incredibly valuable experiences in developing your work ethic. They give you the opportunity to work in a team, or on your own with less supervision, to learn customer service skills, to learn professional demeanor, as well as developing greater time management skills to balance school and work.
You can also explore internship opportunities in your field of study. Professors in the department may have research projects that they can use help with from undergraduate students. Or, if your school is near a research facility, perhaps you can find a job doing bench work for their labs. Perhaps volunteer teaching opportunities are available for education majors at local preschools or after-school programs in the public schools. Look into local museums for college internship opportunities. Or if you are interested in politics or social activism, maybe you can get an internship position at the local congressman or representative’s office providing administrative support.
Any working experience outside of the classroom can greatly help you develop real-world skills that will give you the edge over other job applicants when it’s time to find a job. The internships can also help you determine if it’s really something you will be happy doing five days a week. Having employment will also force you to manage your time more wisely to make sure that after you come home from your job, you can still get that paper done and finish studying for that midterm. And the cool thing is that you can earn your own income! It’s never too early to start managing your own finances. Open a checking or savings account, and see how you can start accumulating wealth from a simple campus job!