photography by ALYSSA LAMONTAGNE

Theoretically, college is supposed to be the path to our dreams – the infamous road that we are all supposed to take in order to successfully launch our careers and begin our lives in the so-called real world. We apply to prestigious schools and pay insane amounts in tuition with the hope that the things we learn and do in the classroom will train and prepare us for the futures we have planned for ourselves.
However, most of us have terrifyingly empty resumes, which serve as nothing more than dismal reminders of the experience we have yet to gain and the things we have yet to accomplish. What’s worse is that landing an internship or job within any given field usually requires some sort of previous experience.
So how are you – a student with nothing but a high school diploma and a few semesters of college under your belt – supposed to break into the working world? By remembering this: experience comes in many forms. There are a lot of ways to beef up your resume without having any prior professional experience. You just have to look a little more closely to see how broad your horizons actually are.
For example, now that you are out of high school, why do you have to stop doing extracurricular activities? Remember how being involved in clubs and intramural activities helped you get into college? Well, the same rules can apply in order to make you a more viable candidate for an internship or a job. Being involved in different organizations on campus not only adds a few lines to your resume, but also gives you the life experience that intern coordinators and human resource representatives are looking for in a candidate. It shows potential employers that you are able to commit your time and effort to doing something, that you can work together with others, and that you can simultaneously balance multiple responsibilities. In addition, some extracurricular activities, such as student governments and activist groups, allow you to exercise your leadership and organizational abilities illustrating how effectively you can handle different levels of responsibility and how efficiently you can accomplish given tasks.
Secondly, try to find a volunteer position in the field of work you would eventually like to enter.  Again, any experience is good experience: a well-rounded person is more appealing to an employer than a one-trick pony. So, for example, if you would like to be a teacher, offer to tutor children around your neighborhood or volunteer teaching kids to read at your local library.
Thirdly, do not whittle away your entire summer at the beach. Getting a summer job will not only put extra cash in your pocket, it will also give you future references who can vouch for your work ethic in addition to your school professors and academic advisors.  Furthermore, talk to the student employment offices at your school to see if they can give you an on-campus work-study job during the fall and spring semesters. This way you can learn the basics of how an office works without sacrificing your grades.
College is the path to fulfilling your aspirations, and yet much of your future is dependent upon the steps you take to get there. Taking the proper measures in the beginning of your journey will ultimately help you out in the long run.

Christina Brower is a writer for Campus Clipper. You can read more of her advice on jobs, fashion, and student life in the Campus Clipper guidebook, “NYC Student Guide” due out in this fall 2010.

Maya Klausner is a writer for Campus Clipper. You can read more of her tips on food, fun, and entertainment in the Campus Clipper guidebook, “ NYC Student Guide” due out in Oct. 2010.

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