Getting Involved as a First Year Student

By: Kiara

Going into my freshman year, I was unsure of what activities would be the best fit for me, but after completing my first semester I am thankful for how much I have learned from each activity. Sometimes it can be intimidating or feel overwhelming to try new things, but challenging yourself to do so can help you grow in the long run.

During the start of the first semester I became involved in the figure skating team, the University Honors Program, and started working at Career and Internship Services. Actively participating in these activities throughout the year helped me to build a community, pursue my interests, and develop transferable skills.

Image: colorful pens on white background
Text: Getting involved as a first year student

Build a Community
Being a part of the University Honors Program has given me the opportunity to meet new people and engage with my surrounding community. Through this program, I volunteered at a local assisted living facility in Duluth which made me feel more connected with my new community. I also attended other events within this program that helped me to gain critical thinking skills and learn with an open mind which can be valuable tools for a future career. Immersing yourself in a club or an organization can leave you feeling more integrated within the campus. Creating connections and a community can also give you a stronger sense of purpose or identity. 

Pursue Your Interests
UMD has so many great opportunities for students to get involved in things they are passionate about or interested in exploring such as a variety of clubs, sports, and other organizations. Personally, I joined the intercollegiate and synchronized figure skating teams since I wanted to continue to figure skate. This connected me to others who have a similar passion and taught me the importance of teamwork. I also continued to pursue my individual figure skating tests, which taught me a lot about self-discipline and self-motivation. During setbacks, it can be tempting to quit in the moment, but getting back up and overcoming these challenges are typically worth it in the end. The lessons we learn from pursuing our interests can aid us in our career development since we most likely will encounter adversities such as not getting a job offer, facing rejection, and receiving tough criticism. 

Develop Your Transferable Skills
Joining new clubs and organizations can help you gain essential transferable skills that you can apply to almost any field. Being a member of a club gives you a chance to run for an officer position which can be a valuable leadership experience. Planning events or leading meetings can also strengthen your work ethic and show your dedication to the team. Working as a front desk receptionist at Career and Internship Services has helped me improve my communication, organization, and time management skills. Employment opportunities or activities you are involved in can also enhance your resume and highlight important experiences.

Through managing your time well and working hard, it is possible to balance your academics and be involved in meaningful experiences outside of the classroom. Hopefully participating in extracurricular activities will give you the skills needed to face potential career roadblocks down the path. These are some of my interests and I hope you are able to pursue yours!

Of Possible Interest:
Building Your Resume – all our blog posts on the topic
Boost Your Career in College – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources

Read Kiara’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Olia Gozha

3 Tips for Creating Your Freshman Resume

By: Kendra

As a freshman in college, building a resume that would be acceptable in the professional world can be a daunting task. Knowing what to include, what not to include, and even where to begin can be a struggle. You never know when you will have a job opportunity come up or when you might need a resume for a class assignment, so having one available is always a good option. Here are three tips for starting your resume as a freshman:

Start a document.
This might sound obvious, but it truly is the first step in building a resume. We recommend just started with a blank document in Word or Google Docs. Creating a document and putting your personal information at the top is a great start. Information that is important to include is your name, email, and phone number. The rest of the sections of your resume, which typically include an objective, education, experience, and activities, can be difficult to navigate at first. To begin, it might be helpful to brainstorm. Think of all of the activities you are currently involved in, whether it be school, clubs, sports teams, jobs, etc. Make a list of all of these things and then when you feel your list is complete, separate them into the sections of your resume. Information on how to format these sections as well as what other information to include can be found in our Career Handbook.

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Text: 3 tips for creating your freshman resume. Start a document. Don't forget about high school. Build and update.

Don’t Forget About High School
A common misconception is that once you get to college, all of your high school achievements are irrelevant. When you begin your college career at UMD, you will not have had many opportunities to join clubs or get work experience to put on your resume. This is why including activities you were involved in previously is acceptable. Achievements like being salutatorian, valedictorian, student body president, or involved in clubs and organizations should especially be included. Some even list their high school in the Education section, which is a great idea when you have just started college and don’t yet have a GPA from UMD. Courses you have taken in high school can be included as well, especially College in the Schools (CIS), Post Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO), and Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Jobs you had while you were in high school can be included as well, especially if they are relevant to your objective.

Build and Update
Once you have a resume created, you are not done. As you continue your years here at UMD, you will likely gain experiences that can be added to your resume. Updating your education after you have a GPA from UMD, for example, is one way to update your resume. Getting involved in organizations, clubs, sports, and jobs are other great ways to build your resume. Even courses you take can be included. Once you begin to explore more of these areas, add them to your resume. Remember, though, to remove information from your high school years as it becomes irrelevant (usually during sophomore year of college). If you are unsure how to get involved or need some guidance in building your resume, stop by Career & Internship Services (SCC 22) and a Peer Educator or Career Counselor can help you.

Resumes can be intimidating at first, but once you start working, it’s not so bad. If you need any help at all, check out our website, our Career Handbook, or stop by Solon Campus Center 22. We have students who will review your resume anytime and can also have professional staff review it. You do not need to have a resume completed to come in, either. At any point in the resume process, feel free to come in if you are seeking assistance.

Of Possible Interest:
Resume Examples (especially look at Samir Sophomore)
Building Your Resume – all our blog posts about the things you can do and put them on your resume
Resume & Cover Letter – all our blog posts about the nuts & bolts of these documents
Boosting Your Career in College – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources

Read Kendra’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | rawpixel

Start on the Right Foot

The school year has started! Woo! We’ve put together a mini to-do list for career-related items that ought to be completed by the end of the September (or earlier). Here’s a full breakdown of career-related items you can be working on during each year of your college career.

Start the school year off right


  • Come find us! We’re located in Solon Campus Center 22 (aka: The Wedge). You can also find us online at any, and all, of these locations: websiteFacebookTwitter, InstagramLinkedIn, and Pinterest. I’d list our blog, too, but if you’re reading this, you’ve already found our blog. Kudos to you!
  • Get involved on-campus – in something. This could be a student organization, your residence hall, working on-campus, and much more.
  • Start your resume…even if it just has your HS involvement, the fact that you’re now a UMD student, and any jobs you may have had up until now.


  • Research careers related to your major. Check out the Follow-up of Majors, from our Graduate Follow-up Report, to see where recent UMD grads have landed jobs right out of college (with YOUR major!).
  • If you haven’t decided or declared your major yet, you can take one of our career assessments (Strong Interest Inventory, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and CliftonStrengths for Students).
  • Get involved in something on-campus. Build your resume so you’re ready for whatever opportunities may come your way in future years. If you’re already involved in something, see how you can increase your involvement. This could be a leadership role, more responsibility, etc.


  • Update and polish your resume.
  • Prep for upcoming job & internship fairs (E-Fest for Engineering, Computer Science, & Science, Head of the Lakes Job & Internship Fair, and the Government & Non-Profit Career Fair are all happening this Fall).
  • Consider possible internship sites.


Photo by on Unsplash

Freshmen: 5 Ways to Overcome the Second Semester Slump

By: McKenzie

First semester went great, or at least as well as it could have gone. Fueled by excitement and ramen you conquered those first few months of college. You may not have gotten the best grades, made the best friends, or done your ultimate best, but at least you made it. However, now you’re stuck. The second semester slump is here and while anyone one who is a sophomore and above has trekked this mountain it’s your first time and you’re not ready. Luckily, we’re here to help you reach the peak of motivation mountain.

Get involved
It may seem counter-intuitive to get up and get out there since rolling out of bed is already hard enough, but it’s time to find the right people and follow your passions. Regardless of the school you attend, there are plenty of clubs, organizations, and student groups. Exploring your interests will keep you up and moving through the semester. Plus, getting involved is great for your resume!

It’s essential to rest and stop stressing super hard, so this semester you need to find a healthy balance between work and play. Find time during each day to take care of yourself. Self-care is super important and will help keep you moving along through the semester. Find the things that help you relax, but also don’t stray too far from your studies since those are still important.

Mind your habits
First semester may have been tough on your GPA, and more importantly your mental health, so it’s time to pick up some healthy habits. Exercising regularly, eating better, and studying are great habits to develop. You will not only feel better, but you’ll begin solidifying a routine and a routine gives you something to look forward to every day. (our Productivity & Wellness posts)

Meet your professors
During your first semester you probably got by without ever getting to know your professors since in large lectures they don’t often have time to get to know you. However, getting to know your professors will save you from struggling later on. Take advantage of their office hours. Teachers who know you will by nature hold you more accountable, but will also be more open to understanding why you missed their class that one (or four) times.

Temporary dissatisfaction leads to lifelong satisfaction
While your good ol’ buddy Tim may be lots of fun, he may also not be the best influence. There is a time and a place for everything and Tim can wait until the weekend. Use your time during the week to focus on your studies. The more you accomplish throughout the week the less you will have to do on the weekend. This will also help you begin prioritizing tasks which will help you later in your career.

Read McKenzie’s other posts

What I Wish I Had Known

By: Logan

Everyone learns a lot during their first few years of college. It is a time of exploration and gaining new experiences. Being a Junior, I sometimes look back at my Freshman self and wonder if things could have been different. I wonder what my college career would look like if I knew all of the things I know now. I’m not saying I made a lot of bad choices as a freshman, but I know that if I had the knowledge I have now, I could have improved my professional development and made college more enjoyable overall. As a part of my role as a peer educator, I want people to hear some things that I wish I knew when I first came into college.

Person & Night Sky

One of the biggest mistakes I made coming into college was the decision to decide on a major right away before actually researching it and making sure it was what I wanted to do. I was unsure of what I wanted to do when I first came to college, but I thought that I had to choose a major right away. I decided to follow in my brother’s footsteps and study Exercise Science. I quickly learned you should never decide on a major because of what your siblings or parents did. Everyone is different, and we all have different interests and skills. I quickly realized where I had made my mistake. I didn’t feel right in the classes, and I was struggling to keep up with the material because I had no interest in it. If you are a Freshman and are undecided on a major, do not rush. You have plenty of time to figure out what interests you and where your skills lie. If you try to quickly declare a major for the wrong reasons, you will be disappointed. If you are having trouble finding a major that interests you, try coming to Career and Internship Services. You can set up a 1 on 1 meeting with one of our counselors and discuss different options that would suit you. You can also take different career assessments, such as the Strong Interest Inventory, StrengthsQuest, or the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which can help you identify your individual interests, strengths, and personality.

As a freshman I was constantly told, “Get Involved!” This could mean joining clubs or organizations, getting an on-campus job, or simply being more active on-campus. As a freshman I only joined one organization, which was a fraternity. I got out of it exactly what I wanted: new friends, volunteering and leadership experience, and a large network of other students and faculty. Looking back at it now, I gained so much from joining this one organization, and sometimes I wonder how much more I could have gotten if I had joined more than one organization. Being involved not only looks good on your resume, but it is a great way to meet people who have similar interests as you. If you are having trouble meeting new people, then joining a club or organization could be the best way to overcome this issue. Another benefit to getting involved is that you may be exposed to different leadership positions within the organization. This could mean being the Treasurer, Secretary, or even President of any particular club. Taking on these leadership roles looks great on your resume, and they can help you learn new skills to help you continue your professional development.

The last piece of advice I would give to anyone who is coming into college would be to try and make as many new friends as you can your Freshman year. Many people meet a friend on their first day of college and tend to stick with that person because they do not know anyone else. I recommend you try to meet as many people as you can because you never know who you might meet. And it makes the campus feel a lot smaller when you can walk through the halls and recognize a few faces. So don’t be afraid to start a conversation with someone in your class, or introduce yourself to everyone on your dorm floor.

There are a lot of things that I wish I had known when I was a freshman, and I would have benefitted greatly if I had been able to read this blog post when I was first coming into college. Your freshman year is a time to try new things and meet new people, so do not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and gain some new experiences. I promise that you will thank yourself when you reach your senior year and you have no regrets about your freshman year.

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Logan’s other posts

Photo source: Unsplash|Greg Rakozy