For students across the nation, Labor Day marks the end of summer and a return to the classroom. As a college professor, I teach students both on the internet and in person. Every year, I see students struggle to figure out how to become a fantastic pupil and how to apply those skills to their ancient professional lives. I am frequently asked for information and thought I would share some of the common recommendations I give pupils to help them succeed in school and beyond.
The Way Education Expand My Life
I’m a first-generation faculty student. I took out each student loan imaginable and functioned part-time on campus — anything that was needed to pursue my undergraduate degree. I’ve since finished my master’s and doctorate degrees and will be going back for another level in the not too distant future. Since I was the first to go to college, I had to literally pave my own path by learning how to study, write and finish what looked like, in the moment, an endless barrage of requirements. My formative high school years did not prepare me for success in college, which was partially my fault. I can’t deny the fact that I was into socializing (a.k.a. — partying) than researching in high school.
Words of Advice to Find Success in College
I had to basically learn how to work hard and work smart, nevertheless it was significant that I kept all in balance, which is something that I preach now. It is crucially important that you care for yourself mentally, physically and spiritually, or you may experience burnout. I lived with a wild group of school roommates, seven to be exact, which was incredibly awesome, but left analyzing in our house quite hard, if not entirely impossible. I needed to visit the library to research and complete projects (way before the introduction of computers, notebooks and the dawn of the Web ). I partied — a lot — but always understood my research came . Study first, party later. It paid off and that is why I’m paying it forward since I had to learn through trial and error what was needed to maximize my potential as a pupil, find success in college and later as an expert.
Now, enough about me. What did I learn along that journey from college freshman to entry-level professional to university professor? Most of all, I learned to hear to and watch people, which can be”people watching” in an entirely new level. There are strong students and not-so-strong students. If you wish to be among the strong pupils, which I highly advise, then learn from these. How do they take notes? How can they study? How do they prepare for exams? Watch your professors, also. Each has his or her own style of teaching. Learn their teaching design, what questions are they going to ask on examinations, what they look for when grading essays and research papers. Learn through observation. Be respectful. I can’t talk for other areas, but also in criminal justice, it is about respect, honesty, ethics, ethical insight and needless to say, professionalism. These individuals will also be composing your prospective letters of recommendation.
Do not take what could be perceived as criticism . It’s the program instructor’s job to teach you about the program content, but also to improve your writing, critical thinking and interpersonal communication skills. Come to grips with the fact that there is and will always be room for advancement. Adopt the criticism and watch it as constructive feedback, even if it’s delivered with far less tact than you predicted. Their feedback is meant to make you a much better student and future professional. Some professors are straightforward and rather blunt, whereas others attempt to cushion the blow to a self-esteem with a toned-down strategy. Irrespective of how the message was delivered, remember that they truly care about you and want you to be successful. I have never met a professor in my whole career who did not desire his/her students to do well, contrary to what many students might think. There’s no hidden conspiracy, I can guarantee you!
How to Be Successful as a Young Professional
Here are a few tips that I learned as a young entry-level professional leading for my years in a variety of leadership positions.
If you are scheduled to perform 9 a.m. to 5 pm, show up at 8:45 a.m. and leave around 5:15 p.m. Yes, it is an additional half an hour of work, but it speaks volumes about your work ethic. The opposite may also happen if you consistently arrive a few minutes late or have your coat on and keys in hand at 4:55 p.m.. You will also be noticed, but the outcome will likely be a ticket outside the door or a poor reference to your future employer.
You’d be amazed by the number of individuals whom I’ve interviewed that had absolutely no clue what they were searching for. Prior to walking through the doorway, find out who will be the decision makers. Make sure you realize the agency’s assignment, their doctrine and their goals. You need to be sure that you possess the same ideals as the agency. Most employers will run a background investigation; a few are more extensive and more invasive than many others.
Omitting something out of your application or during the interview will not be viewed favorably and will probably be interpreted as being deceptive. Honesty is the only alternative. If there is something within your background that worries you, be prepared to have it and take accountability for it.
Most, if not all companies, will require your college transcripts, driver’s license, etc.. Create PDF files and store all these important personal documents in an email for easy and quick access. Most delays must do with the possible hire gathering up his/her personal documents.
In criminal justice, expect a criminal background check (FBI, State Police, etc.), clinical evaluation, psychological evaluation, fiscal evaluation, driver’s background check and a polygraph (lie detector) evaluation. You need to successfully pass each of these hurdles so as to be offered conditional employment. Most companies have a probationary term, which is generally 90 days but in some professions, it could be six months or annually. During this time period, you must be careful to not bring any unwanted attention in to yourself with tardiness, absenteeism, etc.. As I always say, you would like to fly beneath the radar, not receive negative focus.
We reside in a different world now, which means that your life is frequently on public display through social media. Employers do, and probably will, assess social websites. Be cognizant of what you say, do and publish. A picture on social media will be subject to scrutiny and interpretation from the viewer. If it is a picture that you would not want your grandmother seeing, remove it. Bear in mind, once it’s on the Web, it is available in cyberspace for eternity even if deleted.
I would also recommend that you become involved in campus activities such as clubs and events, join professional organizations (inexpensive as a college student), and also attend conventions and internet groups associated with your prospective career. I would also volunteer. Volunteering is a characteristic that most companies favor. It indicates that you can put others before yourself.
The meeting is one of the most intense stages of the job hunting process. Confidence is key here. Be confident in your skills. Even though you may lack proper expertise, you probably have transferable skills that you have acquired in different places like leadership, teamwork, accountability, problem solving, etc.. Do not discount your experiences.
Prior to your interview, decide who you will be interviewing with and their title/position within that business. That is the way you should address them. Some interviews, as in criminal justice, frequently consist of a panel of two or more interviewers, typically in the mid- to upper-level administration. Learn about them too. Body language is as equally crucial to your success as the answer to each interview question.
Do not slouch, tap your toes or fingers (nervousness), and keep eye contact. Keep your composure although it might seem like you are in there for a lifetime. If asked a question, people have a tendency to react quickly because they are nervous. Do not answer fast even though it might seem to you as time has stood still, especially with the aide staring at you awaiting your response.
To get ready for this stage, think of all probable questions and scenarios that might be asked and how you’ll respond. Don’t memorize these answers because it is going to seem as though they are scripted. Just accept that some questions will be a lot easier to answer than others. Strengths are simple to point out, however when the interviewer asks about your weaknesses, don’t sabotage yourself. What are some of YOUR flaws that others can see as strengths? For example, I tend to become a perfectionist, which in my head is a weakness because I’m my worst enemy and make my very own stress, but an employer will likely see this as a power since, after all, who doesn’t like perfection?
Remember that most companies have already gathered some basic information on you prior to the interview. Yet more, do not omit anything and be truthful. They may ask you a question, but they already know the solution. If your reply contradict what you previously said or wrote, you will likely be called on it and that typically doesn’t finish well. Recall: assurance, confidence, confidence. By this point, you’re a college graduate or soon-to-be graduate; therefore, you fulfill the qualifications for the position and are ready to enter the wonderful world of professionals. Let that confidence come through during each reaction.
What do I use? Without seeming too vague, in my experience, conservative is the best way to go: Professional apparel, tattoos and piercings unexposed, freshly groomed hair and face. In my view, it is far better to be overdressed than underdressed to get an interview. First impressions do and can thing, so dress to impress but don’t appear flashy. Remember, you want the interviewer’s complete attention to be in your response to every question.
Let us assume you are given the position. Now what? Read this entire article again and repeat the procedure by learning, celebrating, working hard, being specialist, etc.. One big mistake I left for several years wasn’t requesting help or admitting I did not know something. I let my pride and ego get in the way, but all it did was make things worse and a lot more stressful. Fast forward to now, and I am a huge proponent of having one or more mentors. Learn from them. By way of example, I had an offer back in 2005 to compose my first book. It was a fantasy come true for me personally, but then again, I had no clue where to even start so that I reached out to someone who was successful in that respect and he basically showed me the principles. The wealth of information he provided proved unbelievably helpful since I have nearly 60 publications to date and function on the International Editorial Advisory Boards for three international peer-reviewed books. However, it’s sad that it took me more than 20 years to push my pride and ego aside and request assistance.
Even though I work as a university professor with almost three decades of knowledge and education as a practitioner, author, editor and subject matter expert, I frequently reach out to others whom I respect and respect for their guidance and suggestions. This is particularly important if I believe that I am venturing into uncharted territory or, as most refer to it, out of my comfort zone. Speaking of comfort zone, get out of there. The worst thing you can do on your personal and professional lifestyle is stay inside that comfortable zone. A tiny bit of temporary distress never hurt anyone and it will undoubtedly lead to personal and professional growth.
Never stop learning and never stop believing in yourself and your skills. The only person stopping you is often yourself. Most of us have that boundless potential, but the majority of men and women stop themselves by thinking they cannot do it. Drown out the negative voices in your head that could possibly be full of messages of self-doubt. Do not listen to all of the naysayers who attempt to bring you down. One of the greatest motivators to me is when someone puts you down and says that you can’t do it. Just watch me and I shall prove to you that I will do it. Remove all negative, suspicious language from your vocabulary like,”I would,””I am shy,” etc.. Replace these phrases with”I will” and”I shall.”
Positive people will be people who push you and believe in yourself. Rid yourself of toxic people in your life and distance yourself from toxic relationships and friendships. Negativity breeds negativity; therefore, positivity will strain positivity. Have a sense of humor and do not be afraid to make fun of your errors and your flaws. All of us make mistakes and most of us have flaws because nobody is perfect. Be passionate, driven and always strive for awesomeness. Master your skill sets, but always remain grounded. Remember your roots. Remember where you came from and always pay it forward to other people who have not yet reached that degree of professional and personal satisfaction.