As the year comes to a close, seniors and underclassmen alike begin to plan for the next phases of their lives and are looking for resources to do so.
Seniors are looking toward the job market and graduate studies while underclassmen are looking toward their classes, majors and graduation dates.
While these groups may seem distant, underclassmen can begin to plan now for their senior year and there are so many resources available at Belmont to do so.
One of the resources offered to all students is the Career and Professional Development Services. Located on the second floor of the Gabhart Student Center, this office provides resource for finding jobs and for learning habits to become a desirable employee.
“I think a lot of students, especially alumni, say they wish that they had come to our office sooner because we really are specialists in the areas that we work with so we are able to provide that advice,” said Rachel Walden, a career development specialist in the office.
The people in Career and Professional Development Services have job and internship connections as well as tips on what one can be doing right now to build a successful future.
“I think it really starts with knowing yourself,” said Gary Boling, assistant director of the Office of Career and Professional Development Services. “When you know yourself and understand those things about yourself, you’re going to know what you enjoy and what you’re going to do well in.”
And even with broad advice like this, the office has practical steps to achieving what goals students have set in place and what goals students need to be looking toward.
“Often times, underclassmen don’t know what they want to do. I think if they can identify their top three to five values and their mission statement, what do they hope to accomplish in life or how they hope to change the world, then seeking practical ways that they can get experience doing those things,” said Walden.
Another resource for underclassmen is talking to older students.
“Don’t be afraid to talk to people,” said senior Lily Scott.
Scott not only utilized Career Services during her college experience but also found some of her own techniques for becoming a better student and preparing for the post-collegiate job market.
“Not being afraid to make connections and networking can be kind of stressful, but it is really great,” said Scott. “People want to help you.”
Another senior, Bennett Heidelberger, is graduating a year early and going on to graduate studies at the Belmont College of Law.
“One big thing that I kind of thought, going into it, was you should treat it more like a marathon rather than like a race. Otherwise, you can get burned out pretty quickly,” said Heidelberger.
Part of Heidelberger’s mentality included prioritizing what really mattered.
“I think one really big thing is to pick a few things that you’re really interested in and then dive in with those friends and form really meaningful relationships,” said Heidelberger.
This idea of building meaningful relationships was also important to Scott in her college career.
“Be building relationships with professors that you can ask them to write a recommendation for you. Be friends with your professors because they too want to help you,” said Scott.
And friendships are not the only relationships to be built, in Scott’s mind.
“If there are people in a job sphere that you’re interested in, don’t be afraid to say ‘hey, can I get you coffee?’ or ‘hey, can you give me even 15 minutes of your time?’ and just talking with people,” said Scott.
Between the people at Career and Professional Development Services and seniors, there are so many resources to help underclassmen prepare now for graduation.
One piece of advice Scott offered was not necessarily academic-related but can be applied to every part of the college experience.
“Just enjoy your time,” said Scott. “When I look back on my four years, I don’t think about the nights that I was up studying for a test. I think of all the fun things I did, all the adventures I went on and just getting to hang out with friends and live life with people.”