The Advice I Wish I Had Going Into College

Kamil Strycharz | DePaul University Collegiate DECA

Four years and close to $30,000 in loans later, I’ve graduated Magna Cum Laude with two degrees (marketing-honors and finance) this past weekend from DePaul University.

Below are some key learning lessons and tips to pass along to current or soon-to-be college students:

1. When in college, you are stamped with the label, “college kid.” This label gives you an excuse for risks and mistakes, so take them and make them. Tip: It’s also a great crutch to use for asking alumni questions and slowly locking in a new connection for a job/internship.

2. Explore and say “no” less. In this time of your life, you’ll be exposed to very different perspectives and tons of new challenges; all without the immediate aid of your parents. Be open and try new things.

3. GPAs do not matter.* Still try, but always take experience over grades. For example, if there’s a social or work event tonight, but you have class early in the morning, go anyways. Memories and networking are much better to have than a number on a paper that is only becoming less relevant.

*With the exception of those trying to get into selective education programs, high-profile consulting firms, etc.

4. Spend just 15 minutes a day doing something for your professional self. You’ll be surprised to see how much you get done and will not regret it. This includes doing things like writing your resume, submitting internship applications, and updating your LinkedIn profile.

5. Join as many clubs and organizations that interest you. None is too many, but don’t join one unless you can commit. These will be the Holy Grail to meeting new people, developing key skills, and a big source of fun.

6. Meet at least two people in each class you take. Doing this alone will leave you graduating with knowing over 40 people. Tip: Start with the person sitting next to you and the professor.

7. It’s not as hard as you think. One of the most challenging things you will face is prioritization of time. Meet as many people as you can, lock in those internships, and read the damn syllabus.

This article was written by DePaul Collegiate DECA alumnus, Kamil Strycharz, and was originally published on the DECA LinkedIn Group. You can join the DECA LinkedIn Group here, and follow Kamil on Twitter @KamilStrycharz.

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