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Advice for college men AND women from young professionals

Posted by Leslie Anderson  September 30, 2013 05:41 PM

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"Simple advice for college students from a parent," a column posted earlier on College Bound, elicited widespread reactions. Here is another point of view, from former Northeastern University roommates and alumni Katie McInerney and Alexandra Anweiler Stephens.

Response to: Simple advice for college students from a parent

1. Study abroad. Whether itís for an intersession, a summer or a semester, this may be your best chance to experience new people and places.

2. Set goals and go after what you want; you CAN do it.

3. Use internships, volunteer experiences and part-time jobs as ways to explore what you do (and donít) like. College is about trying new things and figuring out your niche.

4. Be competitive but also be a team player. Always strive to achieve your personal best, but not at the expense of others.

5. Surround yourself with a diverse group of people who want to succeed and want YOU to succeed, too. This includes family, friends, professors, career counselors, supervisors, etc.

6. Donít just take the easy classes. If you do, seek out opportunities to challenge yourself.

7. Be yourself; if people donít respect you for it, they are probably not worth your time.

8. Donít eat everything in the dining hall in one sitting; most of it will be there again tomorrow (and in an hour when lunch begins).

9. Be humble, but not too humble. Take credit for your accomplishments.

10. Join clubs and activities if you care about them, but donít waste your time if you donít. FYI: Being on a listserv does not a club member make, so please donít put it on your resume.

11. Anything you put online will stay there, so think before you post. Chances are it probably isnít as witty or amusing as you may think. But also remember, the internet can be a great way to network and build a positive professional brand (think LinkedIn and your study abroad blog).

12. Donít skip class (have you ever calculated how much each class costs you and/or your parent?). While you're there, you might as well raise your hand.

13. Itís never too early to start networking; you never know how the connections you make today will pay off in the future.

14. Experiment, but donít forget to think about the consequences. And keep in touch with your parents; this is your time, but they helped you get here.

15. Problem-solve independently, but donít be afraid to ask for help.

16. Be a good friend, help others, and put yourself in othersí shoes to gain perspective.

17. Exercise regularly and stay fit. You donít have to be a varsity athlete, but intramurals, club sports, and sporting events that support great causes are all ways to stay active, get involved and make new friends.

18. Donít walk alone at night; Boston is a great city but you are not invincible.

19. Enjoy solitude once in awhile; everyone needs time to think and recharge.

20. Say thank you. There are so many people in your life who love you, support you, and want to see you do well in college and beyond. Express your gratitude for them. You can thank us later.

Katie McInerney is currently a graduate student in psychiatric epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. Prior to entering the masterís program, she spent three years working in applied research at the Human Service Research Institute, a small non-profit organization in Cambridge, MA. She evaluated substance abuse and HIV prevention programs funded through the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. She graduated summa cum laude from Northeastern University in 2009 with a B.S. in sociology. She received the Sears B. Condit award for academic performance and the Sociology Student of the Year Award.

Alexandra Anweiler Stephens works at the Hiatt Career Center at Brandeis University, where she manages career-related programs and engagement opportunities for Brandeis' diverse network of 30,000+ alumni. Prior to her transition into higher education, Alexandra worked in marketing and communications at Rosieís Place, a sanctuary for poor and homeless women in Boston, MA, and Constant Contact, an email marketing company in Waltham, MA. She graduated summa cum laude from Northeastern University in 2008 with a B.A. in Communication Studies. During her time at NU, she completed two full-time, six-month co-ops to refine her career goals.

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