Desire to Excel: 3 Things I Want to Accomplish in College

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Daiki Yoshioka
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“What do you want to do in college?” I was asked that question frequently during my freshman year. Every time, I answered with a mumbled, “Well…” and shrug. Looking back at the past two years of my college life, the game changed at the end of my sophomore year. I started to gain more experience by serving as a senator of the Student Government, special event leader of the Student Activities Board, a chief-editor of the Honors Newsletter, a student blogger, an English tutor and a math tutor. For those who did not get the sufficient answer from me – lo and behold. Here are three ways I wish to excel during the rest of my college career.

Identification of my interests

First, I want to fine-tune my interests for future job hunting or even for a possible graduate school application. This can easily be done by focusing on what disgusts me rather than what makes me passionate. For instance, I know that I am not interested in finance, chemistry, and biology. Crossing out “non-interests” made me realize what fuels my motivation: writing, reading, marketing, foreign language learning, sustainability, entrepreneurship, computer science, and graphic design! (Still a lot!) My ultimate goal in college is to further sharpen my interests and self-brand accordingly.

Pursuit of Certifications

After I declared my major in Comparative Literature, I suddenly started to receive this question: “What do you want to do with your major?” My intention of majoring in Comparative Literature is to refine critical and interdisciplinary thinking skills as well as my foreign languages: English, Chinese, and French. Yet, the current job market is unfortunately not that flexible. I doubt that the Comparative Literature degree itself grants me a career that I want. So, I decided to pursue professional certificates on Coursera and edX, with the hope of increasing my employability. I am pursuing certificates from the University of Pennsylvania, Northwestern University, and Harvard University, and I’ve paid only $10! My goal is to earn more certificates in business and other fields of my interests and highlight them on my resume. Online learning is fun as well as a good economical investment!

Networking through involvement

After I earned my Associates degree and decided to take a gap semester, I luckily had a chance to experience job seeking to sustain the validity of my VISA. Through this process, I learned how important networking is. In fact, references from my colleagues in extracurricular activities helped me land positions at the Tutoring Center and the Multi-faith Conference Center. Since then, I started to expand my network by actively asking to connect with every new acquaintance. Not only will it be beneficial for future job hunting, it will also be beneficial to get diverse perspectives and insights. Currently, my LinkedIn connection has 150 people and I want to expand it to 500+ before I graduate.

I had never imagined that I would have been able to formulate such concrete goals in my undergraduate years. Yet, I believe that I was successful because I took advantage of on-campus resources as much as possible and got actively involved. If your college plan is murky, I encourage you to start with activities that might interest you. Trust me, goals and plans come into focus as you engage more in school or even external communities!

Pearson Students: What are some things YOU hope to accomplish while in college? Comment below to share with the student community!

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