College is a Time for Mistakes…So Make Them!
This a blog by Danielle G., our Campus Ambassador from the University of Connecticut. Danielle is a Communications major with a concentration in Sociology. She will graduate in May.
When someone asks you to describe yourself you tend to make a list of all the amazing facts and qualities you possess. Maybe you’re very artistic or are a whiz at all computer programs. Maybe you are quick on your feet when put on the spot or are able to strike a conversation with anyone. Whatever qualities you posses are exactly what you want everyone to know, including future employers.
Now ask yourself to describe you. Do you only list out the positive attributes or do you identify your weaknesses as well. Most people, especially ambitious college students, try and ignore their weaknesses. They pump up their great attributes so much that they tend to forget they even have weaknesses and while this is good for your confidence, it could actually be your downfall in the future.
College is a time to explore and find your own identity. This is the time to make mistakes and try again. This is the time to focus on your weaknesses, not your strengths because when you are put into the career world there is less wiggle room to work on your own identity.
For example, I myself am a strong public speaker. I have no problem getting up in front of a large crowd and speaking as if I am the President of the United States. Now throw me in a one on one casual conversation with someone I never met before and I panic. I think, “How can I make them like me?” “I shouldn’t act like myself because they wont like the real me right off the bat.” “I need to think of topics to say otherwise they will think I’m boring.”
I recognized this flaw early on in college when first time interactions were at a peak. I knew if I was to get the job of my dreams I would have to interview well and be able to hold a casual conversation. I knew when I did get that dream job I couldn’t take months to warm up to people in the office. I needed them to respect and know who I was within weeks. I identified the problem and from their sought the solution.
My solution for me was to put myself in as many first time interactions through programs that I could. I applied for anything and everything when it came to internships and campus ambassador programs, just so I could talk to as many people one on one for the first time as I could. Just recently I attended a conference for a new position I have with Verizon, where I was to meet for the first time 30 other campus ambassadors. On the plane there I told myself over and over, be an extrovert, act like yourself, don’t be shy. When I finished the conference I walked away feeling confident and with a group of new friends. The conference took me away from my familiar setting of Uconn and threw me into a brand new place with brand new faces. It was just what I needed to confirm that my fear of interpersonal communication was beginning to fade and all the uncomfortable situations I put myself through were entirely worth it.
Here is the lesson you should take away: Take the time in college to identify your weaknesses and try to make them as close to a strength as you can. Do not ignore the flaws but embrace them and make them better. Seek out solutions to help yourself get over those faults, so when you do get into an interview or are part of a company, you can show them all the strengths that give you the utmost confidence in yourself.