It’s the start of another college year, and with that, another group of students emerge on cue.
They stand out because of their emotions that are clearly on display as they realize that the world is about to change. They’re freshmen.
The name freshman to some people sounds lame — old-school, or even offensive, but I like it because of the root word “fresh.”
They are fresh, and as such have the ability to grow in ways they never thought possible.
Here are 10 things every freshman should do:
1. Go “all-in” with whatever you do.
Don’t stand on the sidelines merely observing. The lessons you learn both in and outside the classroom and the relationships you make will form the foundation for your life.
2. Don’t ever compromise your integrity or values.
College life is very seductive and you’ll be challenged time and time again in so many different ways. If you can’t handle it in college, you won’t be able to handle it post-college. The greatest asset you have is your integrity and the values by which you live.
Take advantage of meeting leaders and people of influence outside the classroom to build your network.
3. Your friend’s parents are valuable assets.
When you’re suddenly finding yourself being introduced to a friend’s parents, don’t blow it off. Parents of your friends, just like professors, can and will be very helpful to you as you launch your career.
4. Meet leaders and people of influence outside of the classroom.
As a college student, you have an open invitation to meet with nearly any leader. Leaders in business, government, etc., will rarely turn down the request to meet with a college student looking for advice or merely the opportunity to learn more.
Take advantage of it to build your network. The people you have the ability to meet today will be the ones who will help provide you insight and open doors for you for decades to come.
5. Select your degree based on what you will need 20 years from now, not what you like today.
Way too many students wind up with degrees that sound great on the college campus, but serve zero value in the real world.
6. Take at least a few night classes.
The value of night classes is in the students you’ll be sitting by and sharing discussions with. Night classes are filled with people who are working in the real world and attending classes at night. Get to know these classmates. Their level of insight and experience can and will help you immensely. These are people who can help open doors for you in the years to come.
Seek out leadership positions early, be active, be “all-in.”
7. Build dialogue with your professors.
Sure, they can come across as aloof and condescending, but they can and will help open doors to you and others, not only during your college career, but for many years to come.
8. Get involved in organizations outside of the classroom.
For many students, the time spent engaged with others in activities outside of the classroom are the highlight of their time in college. Seek out leadership positions early, be active, be “all-in.”
9. Don’t settle for easy classes, easy profs.
If you don’t push yourself in college, you won’t push yourself in life. Too many students arrange their schedules to take advantage of easy profs, easy workload, etc. Minimally, you should push yourself with at least one class every quarter or semester that will push you with time management, challenge your thinking, and help you grow.
10. Don’t look to master time management. Master priority management.
Each stage of life puts demands on time, as a society we pride ourselves on being busy but in the end are we really accomplishing anything? College is great, because for the first time, you will truly be pushed from a time perspective for extended periods of time.
The sooner you learn how to manage your priorities, the sooner you will be able to take care of your time.
It’s been more than 25 years since I graduated from Seattle Pacific University, and I only wish I had embraced these 10 things when I was a freshman or even as a college senior.
As a freshman you have the ability to start with basically a clean slate. Make the most of it, enjoying the moment while preparing for the future.
Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter” author of High-Profit Selling, recognized globally for his insights on sales. He travels more than 200 days per year speaking to organizations on selling in today’s market. www.TheSalesHunter.com.
This article originally appeared at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/10-things-every-freshman-should-do-mark-hunter