Education and Career New Year Resolutions
As we begin a brand new year, we embrace the new challenges that 2014 may bring. Some of you might have experienced in 2013, the joy of receiving an acceptance letter to the college of their dreams. For others, the route to success might be just about to begin. Whether you are applying for college or about to graduate, there are things that we always hope to make improvements on, and making resolutions for your education, can be one of them.
There are many things we can do throughout the year to support our career and educational goals. If you have not taken some of these steps, here is my list of favorite things to consider devoting your time to, which can have great payback in the short, mid or long-term:
1- Continue your education – whether it is through informal courses, a master’s, or even a PhD, investing in education can provide great reward, from many standpoints. If you study something new, the combination of degrees will help you standout and niche yourself in a way that few professionals will match. At the same time, just having to study keeps your brain activity high and it will allow you to always be intellectually stimulated, seeking always higher ground.
2- Get involved in your community through volunteer work – work with a non-profit organization within your community and support a cause. This is a wonderful way to give back, and network, at the same time. I heard a student saying that he was being selfish by volunteering, as it made him feel great. There can be a lot of reward when contributing with something you believe in. Here are some online resources that can help you find right place to volunteer: www.idealist.org; www.volunteermatch.org; www.cares.org/national; www.servenet.org.
3- Become Involved in School Organizations– Inquire on opportunities to become a leader at your school. If you like math, join MU ALPHA THETA (Math Honor Society). If you like writing, join the school newspaper. If you are interested in teaching, join the Future Educators of America (FEA) Club. By doing so, you will have the opportunity to lead a school club, organize an event, and gain noticeability as a leader. This provides chances for you to learn more about your field of interest. Also, the visibility that comes along with being a leader at your school pays back when filling out a college application.
4- Create a personal vision, mission and goals – it is easier to know what to do and achieve results when you know where you’re going. Develop a list of goals for the short, mid and long term, post it on your fridge or in your office, and get the sweetness of being able to mark each of those goals as accomplished after a few months have passed. You will feel a sense of fulfillment that is hard to parallel, and also, be closer to reaching your highest potential.
5- Update your resume – in these hard economic times, if you have not developed a new resume, do so. And if you have, the end of the year and the beginning of a new one allows for an opportunity to think back and review all your accomplishments. If you haven’t had too many, think of ways in which you could fill out that resume in the next few years, write them down in the goals list, and make them happen. Having an updated resume will help you be ready to respond immediately after receiving a lead on a career opportunity. And then, you’ll be able to “seize the day!”.
6- Plan your financial future ahead – don’t let finances get on the way of education! Read about incentives, scholarship opportunities, government aid, financial aid, and research your options to ensure that money doesn’t prevent you from seeking higher grounds intellectually and career-wise. Thinking about how to save, what opportunities you have to earn a great education at a very low cost can help you achieve your goals from the educational and career standpoints.
7- Learn something new every day! Finally, be open to new ideas, new technologies, do not be afraid to take calculated risk, listen, read, and be ready to take advantage of all the opportunities we have to grow on a daily-basis, just from going out, meeting people that are different to us, and just being! Whether it is in the classroom or in the university called “life,” never stop learning!