Begin with the end in mind

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By Brandin L. Helmers
UW-Stevens Point student

The end is near! Well, the end of my time at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point is near. You’re about to find, too, that from the first day you step on campus, you get one day closer to your graduation.

Don’t get me wrong. You should strive for graduation. But college life is awesome, especially at UW-Stevens Point. Take advantage of each opportunity you find, and in the words of my project management adjunct professor and Ellis Construction Chief Executive Officer Jim Anderson, begin with the end in mind. Here are my suggestions:

  • Take advantage of internship leads: Internships open doors that cannot be found through a simple job search. Often, internships lead to full-time positions upon graduation. Classrooms provide the basics of lifetime learning, but many students learn the most in their internships. It comes down to experience versus knowledge. It is within the internship experiences that you learn what’s necessary to succeed in your career. Not only do you learn, land jobs and gain experiences through internships, but you often make some extra money. In my case, I reached out to University Relations and Communications Executive Director Kate Worster for general guidance and I was unexpectedly offered the internship I’ve held since December 2012. Also, network when you can and take advantage of the departments at UW-Stevens Point such as the Student Involvement and Employment Office (SIEO).
  • Network: Reach out to those around you including professors, administration, advisers and staff. All of these amazing people want to help. However, it is up to you to make the first move. Be professional. Enjoy networking. Take advantage of campus and community events; you will find these on the UW-Stevens Point Master Calendar.
  • Learn to live on your own: Whether it’s during college — or perhaps even after graduation — at some point, life will be hard. Be ready for it. Personally, life got hard during my last year. Finances became challenging, my job hunt became difficult and supporting myself became my dream. I utilized the tools and resources UW-Stevens Point provided me such as the Financial Aid Office. Responsibility and accountability grew every day. Define yourself, project onto others who you want to be and grow. Pay your bills, make goals, find a job and learn responsibility.
  • Study: You cannot rely on others to get you through your homework. But sometimes, there are sources that can help. I achieved honors status during a few semesters by reaching out to the Tutoring-Learning Center at UW-Stevens Point. The knowledge you gain will help you succeed in your internships and careers. Leadership comes from knowledge and confidence. Gain both through doing your homework. As painstaking as it might be, it is one requirement that will teach a valuable life skill.

These four suggestions are ideas that worked for me. Each of you will have a different outlook on success. Consider my suggestions for success and create your own. Do your best, reach out to others and begin with the end in mind.

Brandin L. Helmers is a University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point communication major, who will graduate in May 2015.

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