How to Succeed in Junior Year Without Really… Dying

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Don’t you wish that you could have someone in your ear telling you exactly what to do during your junior year? Junior year is one of the most crucial years of college to pave the way for your future. With a full course load specified to your major and the lingering thought of summer internships in your mind, you’re going to need a tip or two to guide you in the right direction.

1. Schoolwork comes first

“It’s important for students to utilize all of the resources that are available to them when looking for an internship. Doing well in coursework is an important part of becoming prepared for upcoming internships and careers, so that needs to be the primary focus for students–but there are faculty and staff available who want to assist students with finding meaningful, fulfilling internship opportunities.” – Jennifer Wright, Senior Academic Advisor, Saint Mary’s College

2. Start networking now

“I’m a big believer in relationships. It’s not just networking. I recommend that college students find a faculty member they have a real relationship with and look to alumni associations. Ask, can you volunteer and help with an alumni event? Doing so will help you meet people and get used to talking to professionals. You’ll become more comfortable by practicing.” –Judith Gerberg, Career Counselor and director of Gerberg & Company, Manhattan, New York

3. How can I manage both?

“It will help to set deadlines for yourself so you don’t fall behind with your school work, but also set aside time for finding internship opportunities. Make sure to be detail oriented with your calendar and know what’s on your agenda further out to help you plan things in advance.” –Jim Stano, Career Crossings Office Assistant Director, Saint Mary’s College

4. First interview? Plan, plan, plan!

“Prepare for curveball questions. Know how to answer ‘What’s your biggest weakness?’ and questions that you know will get you sweating. Also, work on crafting an elevator pitch so that when you’re asked ‘tell me about yourself,’ you answer in an inspired way. Share why the work you want to do aligns with your purpose in life (make it personal without oversharing), and make it clear what you’re proud of, be it accomplishments or experiences, that will contribute to the job you’re looking to get.” –Ashley Stahl, Career Coach and founder of Ashley Stahl International, Inc. Santa Monica, California

5. Put your best face forward… literally

“Most young people rely too heavily on technology. I always have a very strong preference of showing up in person, even if you don’t know who you will end up talking to. Show up with your resume in hand to prove that you are driven and motivated. You will be taken seriously and they’ll give your resume a real look now that they have a face to connect to that piece of paper.” –Devin Martin, Life Coach, Brooklyn, New York

6. How to make your resume shine

“Instead of sharing everything you’ve ever done on your resume up until this point, choose from a lens of impact. What have you done in school that is high-level and high impact? Those are the jobs on your resume! Your job description should shine through, but you don’t want to lead with it as much as leading from results.” – Ashley Stahl, Career Coach and founder of Ashley Stahl International, Inc. Santa Monica, California

7. How to get that $$

“Large companies usually have more resources to pay interns and it’s good to have a brand name on your resume. Initially, you want to be in an environment where you can see different things and meet different people. It’s all about growing your connections and learning from your environment.” –Judith Gerberg, Career Counselor and director of Gerberg & Company, Manhattan, New York

8. …But money shouldn’t be the only thing on your mind

“Pause and look at the area you want to go into and ask yourself if you would do it for free. Question the nature of what you’re doing; the moment you take an internship is a really big step that you might not be able to correct easily. If you wouldn’t do a job for free, I would ask you what scares you and what excites you to maybe consider changing directions.” –Devin Martin, Life Coach, Brooklyn, New York

9. How to be big city material

“You have to be passionate about it; you gotta dance. I would suggest visiting big cities and finding out if your passions are there. If you’re passionate about it, you don’t have to worry if you’re big city or little city, it’s all about enthusiasm and dedication. Find someone who knows somebody who knows somebody, and always find the biggest umbrella.” –Judith Gerberg, Career Counselor and director of Gerberg & Company, Manhattan, New York

10. Embrace junior year stress

“Some stress can be a positive thing for most people; if we didn’t have deadlines and challenging projects, we might not push ourselves to our fullest potential. That said, as important as it is to work hard, it’s equally as important to find activities that provide balance and enough downtime to be able to feel renewed and ready to begin again. Find things you enjoy and include those activities in your planner, just as you would plan for coursework, so that you have a visual reminder of the importance and value of taking a break.” –Jennifer Wright, Senior Academic Advisor, Saint Mary’s College

Alaina is a junior at Saint Mary's College studying English Writing and Communication Studies. From the warm and exotic state of Wisconsin, she is a professional shower singer, an ambassador for The Elephant Pants, and enjoys playing her ukulele.

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