The School days are over and for various reasons including your parents’ insistence, lack of any idea which field to choose or maths was one of your favorite subjects and you did all right during your school, you have chosen to be an engineer.
Welcome to the new way of life! Congrats!
Now where to go from here to really Enjoy, learn and grow and eventually metamorphose into a successful Engineering professional and of course without giving up on fun, friends, and fiesta…
This is the time when you are neither perceived as an adult nor do you get the benefit of doubt of being a young herd. Things are absolutely confusing and making your way to adulthood is bewildering, to say the least, and the college is overwhelming …
More often than not you find yourself getting lost and have the least inkling as to how to find the balance between learning and fun!! Time is both, in abundance and at the same time a scarce commodity …
From being a student for all the 24 hours you need to become a juggler!! You have various balls in the air to juggle!! You have to be a learner, submit your projects and assignments, learn to be an adequate communicator, participate in both written and verbal communication challenges, up your aptitude quotient, Be at a lookout or participating in tech fests, build your value through a benefitting internship, various social service programs wouldn’t go amiss, have a strong LinkedIn profile and learn to control your impulses on the internet and of course forge life long friendships and memories.
Following are the tips which can guide you without compromising on any aspect of your life and helping you evolve into the best version of yourself :
- Study, but don’t bank just on studies: During the school days acquiring good grades both in the Boards and various admission tests was your sole goal. Get good grades, get a good college. Now when you have got the college of your choice/compromise, you have to up your game.
Good grades talk of your dedication as a student, your ability to read a particular topic, understand and be able to reproduce it is tested through grades but is that enough? When you look for a job, post your engineering, your grades are just a preliminary qualifier. Your grades help your CV reach the HR desk, and don’t mind me saying that anyone who can make the basic cut off point stands an equal chance. What takes you further is the ability to sell your skills. If you are adept at a certain technology but can’t communicate the adept-ness, An interviewer won’t really bother. You see he is not a mind reader.
You know something, be prepared to communicate it –well enough.
Which brings me to another point- when do you start learning communication skills and How? You start building confidence and communication from the first year, since it’s not really difficult to learn to communicate yet it surely takes patience and persistence and practice. Your desire and dedication to put in that one hour daily for all the 365 days can get you way ahead of any of your competition.
You need to grasp each and every opportunity to stand and present. Stand and present a topic, in your class, on college stage through speeches and participating in the various essay competition. You may like to join Toastmasters club, if there is one in your college, if not, be a part of the club you find in your locality. Be a very active participant in the College to Campus Connect programs organized by your college. Be a very intent Ted listener. Read not only Literature around your topic of expertise (or you intend to acquire mastery upon) but also newspapers and other classics.
Since English is a big challenge for students and it’s a universal language, thus I’m talking about just this language here.
You see reading, will help you not only acquire mastery over a certain topic but also help you build vocabulary and learn how to use a plethora of words in different settings. Also, subconsciously now the language doesn’t look foreign but you feel a sense of familiarity with a language.
To learn to pronounce and use the right words/ phrases in various scenarios you need to be familiar with it, one fun way of doing it is watching English movies and series in English and with English subtitles only!!
You are working fairly hard in learning the language but its usage is still evasive, is it? Use it with your friends, you may like to form a group of friends you commit. Be a part of a local Toastmasters club and the opportunity of writing, listening, reading and speaking and competing will present itself more often than you like!! Good Luck with that!
(2) Networking and using Social Networking- How much is too much? So you have 18 hours a day even when you take into account 6 hours of sleep. Being on Facebook and Instagram is all the rage and the moment you get to peep at your handset you do not let the moment pass by, but is it really helpful? I am not talking in platitudes, but on an average, youth spends about 2 to 4 hours on social media and here, we have not even taken into account the games like pubg etc. Social Media is eating into your limited resources of time and energy. Not to forget your ability to focus on the matter at hand is hampered too.
Limiting your usage by not carrying the phone around and keeping it far away from your bed to avoid the temptation of a quick look is the way to go.
Now, how can you tame the monster, you ask? Use it for your own benefit. First and foremost, when you apply anywhere for a job/internship, companies tend to look into your profiles and your social media- activities to know more about you- so keep it clean. Keep your prejudices and politics to yourself.
You should use LinkedIn to socialize and build a professional network. I have spoken at length on the benefits of LinkedIn in my last blog. LinkedIn is your professional footprint on the Internet. You create your account, post your professional profile and start looking for the companies, the HR of these companies and other employees and connects with them. All the jobs posted by the HR of the company on LinkedIn are now accessible to you.
Now you are pressurized into action, you have to create a decent CV you learn to get references and all of a sudden you catapult into a professional. You are taken seriously, a person with a futuristic approach and it doesn’t even take 10 mins a day, once the initial task of CV posting is done. Your debut in the professional world is much easier. And that’s the magic of social media working in your favor!
(3) Participate in Extracurricular activities- not a choice anymore I am afraid.. seek fun through creativity and participating with the like-minded fellow students. Healthy Competition harmed no one! It actually helps one push the envelope.
Participating in sports and other QUALITY extracurricular activities not only within the college but across, builds your confidence and it also, puts you on the horizon, you are known to the management and to the training and placement office. You get to know all the opportunities offered by the college, as you are in the Training and Placement’s horizon.
Also, it channelizes your energies towards having some constructive fun with likeminded people and keeps you away from wasting time in nonproductive non action.
(4) Every company worth its salt will take a written/reasoning/aptitude test- start preparing, now! Every brand, which comes for placement in your college or otherwise uses this tool to separate candidates at the preliminary round itself by giving them an aptitude/written/reasoning test. You have acquired a decent grade in your Engineering. You now qualify for presenting your CV to a potential Employer. The first hindrance you need to overcome is a written test.
And, if you think you can prepare for this test in the last six months of your Engineering, you can’t be further away from the reality. You need to start the preparation from the second year of your college itself. Starting in the lst year is too ambitious. You need time and patience to grasp the subject and really acquire some sense of mastery over it.
(5) Time Management- I have attached a link of the video of a speech by Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Entire speech is extremely inspiring yet his take on time management is unbeatable.
Everyone has 24 hours a day and removing 6 hours of sleep you are left with 18 hours a day. Even if the college takes up 8 to 10 hours, you still have another 8 hours in your hand to complete your assignments and build a hobby and work on your communication/take up a hobby/hit the gym/prepare for a marathon etc.
Each minute wasted on Youtube and other social media offerings is time away from building the best version of your self.
(6) Build habits and character- If you really want to change a certain habit or build a new habit into your system, the good news is –it is very much doable/not difficult. But the not so good news is – Rome wasn’t built in a day!
Anything, any habit, personality trait can be developed or removed from your system. All you need is persistence – and it’s not as difficult as it sounds or we are made to believe. Just like if you want to build a lean and mean body- work out, Not 4 hours a day, but 45 mins every day. No excuses, please! Every day is what it takes. You do not have to be a supreme being or born with a herculean built up but you need to go to the gym and overcome all your reasons for not going there. Similarly, if you want to build a habit into your system- you need to take a day at a time and keep on it for around 66 days.
On an average, it would take more than 2 months before a new behavior gets onto an automatic mode— 66 days to be exact. And how long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the actions, the human being, and the situation. Making a mistake once a while is all right- if you miss out on a certain day that doesn’t mean the task is undoable. Give yourself permission to make mistakes but you cannot permit yourself to get back up and get going. Persistence is the key.
These are few of the things one could keep on mind to keep a track of the most important years which can help you shape your life and fill your artillery with the most important weapon- self-control and self-management.
(7) An internship can shape your Career: This is an opportunity and not a cross you must carry. It is the foundation on which you can construct the building of your choice.
The internship is where you get the practical learning of how the work life is going to be, what kind of role will interest you and which industry is most in tandem with your desires. It prepares you for the future and does wonders to your resume’. Choose wisely- rather than just looking for a ‘fake’ certificate from a relative or an acquaintance.
It gives you a real-world hands-on experience. It’s scary and exciting at the same time – it is a way to experiment with possible jobs and explore different career options.
Networking and build contacts– Internship presents an opportunity to you, of professional networking and getting a recommendation letter/on linked in. it gives you a chance to meet HR of the company and if you prove your worth, they may actually like to retain you (if they have a position), as they have worked with you. It gives an upper hand over the other new entrants.
It helps you add weight to your resume’. Your resume’ is surely more worthy of attention when you have actually worked on a project and hold a decent recommendation then when you are raw from the college.
Without foregoing fun if managed wisely, these years can prove to be the founding stone of your career, which can catapult you to the next level of personal and professional learning, growth and career.
Being with Arya Student Development Cell for a long time now and having seen the ebbs and highs of students’ life first handed has made me privy to students’ life cycle and hence my suggestion for a successful stint as a student and professional in a gist:
(10) Start working on your communication from the first year itself. It’s not too late to make repairs of the mistake of the past, and not too early to start. 2. Start working on Aptitude test, it takes time to master it. 3. Start preparing on your public speaking, presentation and groom yourself to eb the best vesion of yourself. 4. Internship, it prepares you and your CV for your future assignments. You get to know your strengths and dislikes and if played well, the associations made at this time will lay a foundation of your career. Don’t forget to update your LinkedIn profile as you go..