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    10 Things College Students Can Do to Become More Career/Adult Oriented

    July 21, 2016 Amanda Cross 10 min read
    Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more details. Thanks for supporting the brands that make The Happy Arkansan possible!

    Today on the blog I am sharing 10 things that college students can do to become more career/adult oriented. This summer is my first summer where I am living more of an adult life (hashtag working instead of sleeping in all summer…what?) If you want to be more career/adult oriented check out the ten tips I am offering below.

     10 Things College Students Can Do To Become More Career/Adult Oriented | College is a great time, but eventually you have to pivot into adulthood and career life. Click through for ten things that college students can do to become more adult and career oriented.

    1. Join an Academic Organization

    I have talked about this on the blog before, but I adore academic organizations. I think they work really well for college students especially because joining as a student is usually much cheaper than as an adult. Get to know your major related academic organizations, especially right now when it makes the most financial sense, and use their resources to the fullest.

    The academic organization that I am a part of now (the American Sociological Association) is great. They have lots of free resources, journals, and e-books for members; they are well renowned in the sociological community; they have things like job banks that make searching for jobs within sociology easy; and they are just fantastic. I really go in detail on these types of organizations in the post linked below, but there are some organizations that you can only join as a student that you need to take advantage of now (especially if you don't plan to continue education into graduate school.) Having honor society membership with your major is so important, and will give you a leg up in the career world, so think about that as you are working on your undergraduate degree.

    2. Start a LinkedIn Profile

    You need a LinkedIn profile. Just investing in a free profile on LinkedIn will give you so much more credibility online. I wrote up a great how to on LinkedIn a few months ago that I love and have gotten great feedback on. If you are interested in learning more about how to be a LinkedIn rockstar, I definitely encourage checking out the button at the end of this segment.

    Why is a LinkedIn profile so important? It helps you have a professional presence; expand your network of professional connects; collect recommendations and endorsements; and connect with a wide array of people you never knew you could connect with based on things like having mutual friends, going to the same college, and being in the same groups. There are so many cool things you can do on LinkedIn and the best way to start exploring is to create a profile and work on creating an awesome one.

    Get Professional Headshots

    Now, in my post above I say you don't always have to have professional headshots and I stand by that. If you can get professionally done headshots though, that would look amazing on LinkedIn (or any other platform where you want to give off more of a professional look. (If you can't do professional though, I give my tips in the article above.)

    Recently I got the great opportunity to get my headshots done for pretty cheap. At my sororities convention, GreekYearbook with the help of the Sigma Sigma Sigma Foundation came and did tons of ladies professional headshots. Luckily, I was one of them. They had a suggested gift to the foundation as compensation for the headshots and I donated $20. Talk about crazy right? Now I have three professional headshots that I have full access to whether I want to print them on business cards, add them to LinkedIn, print on a canvas to hang in my room (I may or may not already have a a small canvas picture of myself above my bed…), etc.

    Below is one of my new headshots. I am obsessing.

    3. Keep Up with Current Events in Your Field

    In the adult world you always want to learn more and more about your field. There are many ways that you can do this. You can sign up for weekly newsletters in your niche; search the articles shared on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. for accounts in your niche; check out blogs from people in your niche; etc. Keeping up with current events is so important, especially if you want to position yourself as an authority in your field. You can start simply by starting to keep up with events in your field now instead of later.

    Google Alerts

    Lately, to keep up with current events in my field I have been obsessed with using Google Alerts. Google Alerts are amazing because they are a simple way to keep up with news in your field, or if you have a really complex name, news about you (or your blog.) Right now I am really interested in learning about the protests going on in the world so I currently have a Google Alert set up for the word protest. Every time Google catches something for this word across the web they catalog it and at the end of they day they send me a Google Alert about it. They also compile stories, which for me as a sociologist is fun, so that I can see how different media outlets frame the same protest event.

    4. Dress Well for Class

    I have talked about the importance of dressing up for class on the blog before, and I think it sets up a good precedent for your career. In most office settings you cannot get away with wearing leggings and a ripped up t-shirt. Starting to dress for success now will only help you down the road (and you can start stockpiling fun dress clothes that you can continue to use once you get a big girl job. You don't have to start big right away. I encourage you to dabble in nice jeans/dress pants, blouses, and having a couple of cute dresses on hand for classes. This will help you make a great first impression on your professors because you are taking the initiative to look nice for class.

    Updating Your Wardrobe (On A Budget)

    Are you on a budget but you want to update your wardrobe? I have a couple of suggestions for that.

    1. Shop for things on sale: Sales are really important, especially if you already know you will be shopping for something––might as well save a few bucks in the process. Old Navy is one of my favorite stores for sales, it seems like they always have something really cute on sale and they sell a lot of nice clothes for the office.
    2. Shop factory/outlet stores: Another great thing to do is to shop factory stores. Stores like J. Crew Factory, VF Outlet, Guess Factory, Nike Outlet, Old Navy Outlet, etc. are great places to go shopping. My favorite outlet is J. Crew Factory. I own a lot of high quality items from their website and it's like J. Crew quality for half the price. Factory/outlet stores are your friend, good deals are always welcome.
    3. Shop secondhand: The next thing that is great is shopping secondhand. You can find some gently used and amazing quality stuff at secondhand stores. People love to take care of their clothing and you can find some real gems if you have a few minutes to go looking around at secondhand stores. You may want to avoid some places like GoodWill (depending on the area your store is in) but I adore places like Plato's Closet as well as looking online in certain thrifting groups or sites like ThredUp and eBay.

    5. Wake Up Earlier (Even During The Summer)

    I know, I know, this is madness. What does waking up early mean during the summer? During the summer you lose a lot of time during the day due to sleeping in (I am definitely guilty of this). Summer only truly exists during your school years, so especially as you get older, spend some days during the summer where you don't sleep in until 12 PM. You don't have to wake up early every day, but doing this a few days a week might help your body get primed to waking up early during the school year and as a career woman.

    6. Plan Your Meals

    Planning your meals is a really great skill to have. Planning your meals allows you to save time in multiple ways. You can save time by making a grocery list and only having to go to one grocery trip during the week. You can save time during the week by batch making your meals and storing them in tupperware so that you can easily grab your meals and go. Batch making things like salads, soups/stews, meats that you can use in multiple ways, etc can be really great. Making things and then freezing them for later (like handmade pizza, soups, casseroles, lasagnas, etc) can also be really beneficial because all you have to do is thaw them and heat them up when you want to cook them.

    Drink More Water

    Water is an essential element to any adults life, so how do you drink more water? There are many ways you can do it:

    1. Download an app: There are tons of apps that can help you track how much water you drink each day. Apps are great because it's always on your phone and you can easily check in throughout the day.
    2. Use a planner to track water intake: There are tons of cute sticker companies that sell water intake stickers so you can track in your planner how much water you drink if apps aren't your thing.
    3. Use a motivational water bottle: There are tons of cute water bottles out there like this one that provide lots of awesome motivation throughout the day to keep drinking water by labeling the time of day that you should have a certain amount of water consumed. I think having a cute water bottle or tumbler on hand will definitely help you drink more water.

    7. Buy A Planner (And Use It)

    Planners are everything and they can be extremely beneficial for college students and adults alike. I currently will be using two this fall: one for my blog and Facebook group (my Erin Condren planner) and an academic daily Simplified Planner by Emily Ley for my school work and job. Different planners work for different people. I really encourage you to go around to see which one would work best for you. I have used Lilly Pulitzer planners in the past and I have heard great things about The Happy Planner and Day Designer planners.

    As much fun as it is to get a planner––the most import important part is that you use the planner. I really encourage you to take a few minutes out of your day each day to use your planner or an hour or so every Sunday to really plan your week so you can use your planner effectively as a student and as an adult with a career. Make sure that your planner has plenty of space for you to break your tasks down and enough space to handle your handwriting.

    8. Read (or Listen to) More Books

    Oh books, as college students, we don't read enough of them. Lately I have been really into audiobooks. I currently have a $14.95 Audible subscription and it is heaven. I get one audiobook a month and I have downloaded everything from business books to books about social justice to comedy books. I don't have as much time as I'd like to actually read, but listening to audiobooks has been really helpful so that I can listen to new arrivals and stay current without reading a lot of extra books.


    If books aren't your thing but you want to stay current, I really encourage you to listen to podcasts. There are so many fun podcasts out there on a variety of topics. I recently got into podcasts because my favorite brothers on Youtube Hank and John Green have a podcast called Dear Hank and John that I love to listen to. Podcasts can be a fun way to get into all sorts of current events so I encourage you to listen to them.

    9. Have A Saying

    Affirmations are great to have and I really encourage you to come up with your own affirmations in life. What is it that you want to have happen in your life? What do you want to be known for? Make it into an affirmation or saying so that you can repeat that to yourself daily and begin to believe those things about yourself. You will be a happier, healthier person the more you share positive messages with yourself daily. I have a great inspiration board on Pinterest filled with fun sayings so definitely go check that out and find your saying.

    10. Always Take The Cookie

    When I went to Tri Sigma convention last month one of the women in my sorority had a small talk during our national volunteer training. The statement she made that stuck with me was, “Always take the cookie,” she had gotten this phrase from a woman she had met while on vacation and I adore this phrase. Sometimes we aren't 100% sure if we are ready for something but our family, friends, co-workers, professors, etc believe in us. They trust in us that we will be able to accomplish a goal or a task. As a student and a professional, it's important that if you have the time and someone gives you a cookie––take it. Take on the task and do your best at the task. You are an amazing person and you can do so many amazing things.

    Final thoughts

    I hope you enjoyed this post about 10 things that you can do as a college student to become more adult oriented. What task will you take on today?

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  • Joy @ The Cafe Scholar July 30, 2017 at 3:37 am

    Head shots – I got a $20 groupon to the JCPenney photo studio, and Groupon often has various other photo studios too. I was surprised at how many things you need head shots for!

  • Carlee Hebert August 4, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    I love these tips! I’m feeling pretty good about myself because I do some of these already! I love your last tip, that’s definitely something I need to work on!

  • Leave a Reply

    About Amanda

    Hey Y’all!
    My name is Amanda Cross, and I am the blogger behind The Happy Arkansan. I am a blogger, freelance writer, and podcaster. When I am not creating content for any of my content online, I can usually be found baking, watching YouTube, or napping. I love helping millennials and young adults navigate the mess that is adult life. Keep reading for my thoughts and experiences.

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