1.Get out of the library. You can have a degree and a huge GPA and not be ready for the workplace. A student should plan that college is four years of experience rather than 120 credits,” says William Coplin, professor at Syracuse University and author of the book, 10 Things Employers Want You to Learn in College.”
Start a business in your dorm room. It’s cheap, Google and Yahoo are dying to buy your website, and it’s better than washing dishes in the cafeteria. Note to those who play poker online until 4 a.m.: Gambling isn’t a business. It’s an addiction.
Don’t take on debt that is too limiting. This is not a reference to online gambling, although it could be. This is about choosing a state school over a pricey private school. Almost everyone agrees you can get a great education at an inexpensive school. So in many cases the debt from a private school is more career-limiting than the lack of brand name on your diploma.
Get involved on campus. When it comes to career success, emotional intelligence – social skills to read and lead others – get you farther than knowledge or job competence, according to Tiziana Casciaro, professor at Harvard Business School. Julie Albert, a junior at Brandeis University, is the director of her a capella group and head of orientation this year. She hones her leadership skills outside the classroom, which is exactly where to do it.
Avoid grad school in the liberal arts. One in five English Phd’s find stable university jobs, and the degree won’t help outside the university: “Schooling only gives you the capacity to stand behind a cash register,” says Thomas Benton, a columnist at the Chronicle of Higher Education (who has an English degree from Yale and a tenure-track teaching job.)
Skip the law-school track. Lawyers are the most depressed of all professionals. Stress itself does not make a job bad, says Alan Kreuger, economist at Princeton University. Not having control over one’s work does make a bad job, though, and lawyers are always acting on behalf of someone else. Suicide is among the leading causes of premature death among lawyers.
Play a sport. People who play sports earn more money than couch potatoes, and women executives who played sports attribute much of their career success to their athletic experience, says Jennifer Cripsen of Sweet Briar College in Virginia. You don’t need to be great at sports, you just need to be part of a team.
Separate your expectations from those of your parents. “Otherwise you wake up and realize you’re not living your own life,” says Alexandra Robbins, author of the popular new book “The Overachievers.“
Try new things that you’re not good at. “Ditch the superstar mentality that if you don’t reach the top, president, A+, editor in chief, then the efforts were worthless. It’s important to learn to enjoy things without getting recognition,” says Robbins.
Define success for yourself. “Society defines success very narrowly. Rather than defining success as financial gain or accolades, define it in terms of individual interests and personal happiness,” says Robbins.