With graduation right around the corner in six months, I’ve continuously reflected on my time in college and all the changes that came along with it. What I’ve lost and what I’ve gained were common thoughts that ran across my mind. As a Peer Educator, one of our main pieces of advice we give to students is to gain experience and get those skills to showcase. While I sit here writing a resume and cover letter for job applications, I realized how many experiences and skills I’ve developed throughout the years, however, it was not as easy as it sounds. Along the way, I also experienced all sorts of losses.
When I first started my college life, all I had time for was fun and games, and, of course, classes. I would rest in between classes because of how exhausting everything was. Looking back, I was not the best student. I would stay up late to have fun, skip class, and repeat. The only things I did that were beneficial were joining all sorts of organizations and intramural sports; some of the few activities that I began adding onto my resume.
My second year soon came along, I picked up one more activity: secretary of an on-campus organization, Hmong Living in Unity and Balance. This was the year where I had to learn what prioritizing meant; I wasn’t able to do everything I wanted anymore because I had other obligations besides school. Instead of going out everyday to see friends, I spent countless hours in meetings to plan for events and provide UMD students a sense of a home away from home. Although I lost time to have fun and relax, I was able to gain one more experience to add onto my resume.
Going into my third year, I was offered a job at the Career and Internship Services office as a Peer Educator! Not only did I perform duties for my position, but I also assisted other supervisors in presentations. For one of the presentations, I was one of only three student speakers in an event filled with adults. Ten hours out of the week was spent strictly in the office during the breaks between classes which meant no more naps; something that was hard for me to get used to. With no naps, each day ended earlier for me as I stayed in to rest and sleep earlier rather than go out like I used to, but I knew that everything would be worth it.
Now in my senior year, I decided to pick up one more on-campus job which meant I could only work during the day for both and that led me to register for night classes. Not only did I pick up another job but I also became an editor and writer for The Bark! There would be days I would work seven hours straight and then go to a three hour class right after. Other nights were a bit less hectic but included two hours at the gym with plenty of hours to finish projects, not just for class, but work also. At one point, I overworked myself which led to me catching the flu and having occasional bloody noses. Through trial and error, I was able to balance my professional life from my personal life.
There are so many opportunities laid out but it’s up to us to work for them. It will definitely not be easy and there are moments where you will want to give up, but nothing in life comes for free. As you go on day by day, you start to realize that it’s actually not that bad. It’s all about realizing what you need for your future and what you can let go of to make that happen. I remember four years ago, I struggled with finding enough experiences to add onto my resume. Now I struggle with choosing which experiences I should leave in and which to take out because I realized that developing skills happens everyday in everything you do. Experience can easily be found, but the work put into it will be tough. We can’t get to where we want to be right now, but we can make it happen.
Photo Source: Unsplash | Philip Veater