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Opinion

College careers require re-focusing

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October 8, 2009

I think it’s time for everyone on campus to take a big step back and re-examine the past month here at school. And by everyone, I mean everyone.

Freshman are mostly settled in their dorms, sophomores are takin’ it easy, juniors are trying to figure out what midterm means the most, seniors are slidin’ down that fine line of chilling and freaking out, and fifth-year seniors just don’t give a rat’s ass.

It’s been a great last five weeks here at school, but now it’s time to get down to business.

As a freshman I struggled defining the line between freedom and academia, and by freedom I don’t mean I went out and took five shots of cheap whiskey in fifteen minutes, I mean I thought it was okay just to mull around the dorm hoping people would show me how to get involved.

On the other hand, I didn’t think getting those generals down was the most important thing either. On that note: generals might be the most interesting classes a freshman or sophomore might take throughout his or her entire undergraduate career, so enjoy knowing that the material you’re covering now will only take you so far.

On to more pressing matters: involvement. If you’re a freshman, or any year for that matter, and you find yourself “in a groove,” stop and take a step in another direction. Once something gets good and comfortable, stop what you’re doing and do something else.

I’m approaching my final approach to reality and will be moving into the real world this coming December, and man am I glad I hurled myself into campus involvement because everyone that’s been interviewing me for internships and jobs and whatnot have asked the same thing: tell me about your college experience.

I sat down with an employer very recently and she looked at me after glancing at my resume and told me that if I were up for a job and not an internship, she’d look the other way when it came to my application due to the fact that I had never had an internship before. Employers want former interns.

My guess is that the map to success looks something like this:

Residence Life leads to campus involvement. Campus involvement leads to real life experience. Real life experience leads to an internship. And internship leads to a career.

That’s just one way of looking at it. Another would be to think of the campus involvement or internship as a method that determines if you’re going in the right career direction.

Maybe you get hired as an intern at a local laboratory and then decide that you absolutely hate science. Good thing you didn’t graduate with the degree, right? Instead you went on to other things.

The sooner you test yourself, the sooner you’ll know where you need to be or if you’re even supposed to be there. And there’s no time like the present. Here’s my personal experience: two years ago I
changed my major to television production (coupled with an English major too), and was toying around with the idea of joining Focus On U, our very own campus television show.

I thought it might be weird to join an organization that had a mediocre reputation, but I did anyway, and the people I met took it to the moon. Now Focus rules, and I know what I want to do with my life.

I challenge everyone on campus or anyone who reads this to do something with that itch in the back of their skull, the one that’s all like, “get your ass up and do something,” ‘cause you won’t know where it will take you, and a little risk every now and then is incredibly healthy. Plus, if you fail miserably, it’ll make a fabulous story in the end, like a year later.

Brad Brookins is a graduate of UW-River Falls.