By Darrian Hopson
College Prep Program Work Study Student
My name is Darrian Hopson, a work-study student of the Free Library of Philadelphia and current student at Temple University. In my fourth and final year, college has taught me well in this thing called life—budgeting, anti-procrastination, and independent responsibility, to name a few. Some of these things will hit you when you most and least expect it, and it is never ending. At high school’s end, I thought college was going to be four more years of what I’d just graduated from. I thought I’d go off to college for four well-planned years, and in between those years it would be smooth sailing, college parties, and everything else you see in movies. But I was wrong. Well, kind of.
I wasn’t prepared for the real life of it all. The thoughts of switching majors and starting over again, not being able to get into classes you desperately need, desperately just needing a break when the sailing—which was smooth—gets rough. But the fact that I wasn’t prepared is not a bad thing. I believe it’s important to accept these things, because they will happen—because this is college. This is the part where we grow up.
And growing up in college means a lot of things. But one thing in particular, I believe, is the key to success in college and beyond is getting involved. Whether you’re an engineering major or studying social work, you must be involved. Get internships, talk to your professors about the things you should be doing in preparation for the future, attend conferences to network, build a portfolio of work to show future employers you did more in college than party and cram for exams. As a journalism major, it makes me cringe to see other students with no experience writing for the student newspaper or not applying for internships, presumably thinking they will be handed a job once out of college. As students, we pay for these resources that the faculty and staff hand out to us, and to miss out on such opportunities would be a waste.
Don’t wait. It can be daunting at the first thought of taking on extra work while trying to keep your grades afloat, but there’s no doubt it’s worth it. These are the kinds of things employers will be looking for—someone who will accept the challenge and take on more than he or she is expected to. They are looking for those who go above and beyond. This is one of the most important things to keep in mind throughout your college career. Whatever your area of study may be, honing your craft and mastering it to the best of your ability is one of the most important things you can learn to do in college.
Free Library of Philadelphia
The Office of Public Service Support (TOPSS)
College Prep Program
1901 Vine Street, Room 5A
Philadelphia, PA 19103