Posted September 23, 2014 by

5 Habits You Need to Develop During College

Rear view of students attentively listening to male teacher in the classroom

Rear view of students attentively listening to male teacher in the classroom. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Starting college is a huge step. For most, it’s your first taste of long-term independence. Although this is a new and exciting time, that doesn’t mean that it is also a time to go crazy.

This transitional period between relying on your parents and relying on yourself is a key period. Habits that you start now are going to have a much larger effect than habits that you may have had before, so it’s important to develop good, strong habits when you’re in college. These habits are ones you will hopefully carry on to your professional life and benefit you in future jobs.

1. Participate in class discussions

Although not every class will be in a large seminar-like setting, you will have some classes with up to 50 or 100 (and sometimes more) other students. You want to take any chance that you can to shine. Introduce yourself to your professors, answer questions, and be a strong member of class discussions. Your professors will take notice and, chances are, it will also reflect in your grade. Some professors may even be strong networking contacts for after you graduate.
This will also help get you get more comfortable speaking to people or in front of people, which can definitely help you stand out at interviews and even help with promotion opportunities.

2. Learn to manage your money

Going from high school, a time when your parents managed most of your finances, to college, where you have to learn to manage your money on your own, can be stressful. It’s important to learn good money habits so that you don’t end up blowing all of your savings within your first semester. Create a budget for yourself by measuring all of your income versus all of your expenses. Calculate how much money you need to pay bills with and how much money you have available to spend. It is important to always leave some to add to your savings account each month.
If you keep these habits when you move on to your new career, you’ll be able to pay off your student loans at record speed!

3. Back up your work

There isn’t much worse than being three words away from the end of your essay and having your computer crash on you. Take precautionary measures and consistently back up all of your homework assignments, essays, and projects so that you don’t hold the risk of losing all of your work. If your backup drive, hard drive, flash drive or other drives crash or have other problems high quality data recovery services can help with any issues you have with data backup or (if it’s too late) data recovery.
While losing an essay may eat up your weekend, losing important data at work costs company time and resources. It’s important to learn to back up your data now before it can cost you your job.

4. Build your portfolio

Even for an entry-level position, many companies want to see your previous work. Even if they don’t , the fact that you’re organized enough to present it in its best light will work in your favor.

Take any papers or projects that you’re proud of and include them in your portfolio to show off to hiring managers. It’s really easy to put a portfolio together and there are even options for creating an online portfolio. Be particular about what you put into your portfolio – you only want to showcase your best work. And always continue adding to it. Even once you’ve landed a job, it is important to keep up with your portfolio.  You never know when your situation will change.

5. Make your end goal a priority

You’re in college for a reason. You want to get a good job and be successful. Although it’s important to still have a good time, you need to also set some boundaries. For example, the weekend before finals is probably not the best time to go on a skiing trip. Set aside time for fun but at the same time, be smart about your decisions. There are times for friends and there are times for work. Always stay focused on your end goal, and you’ll be sure to succeed.

Be smart about the habits that you make when you’re in college. Some of the habits that you make now are going to be the same habits that stick with you throughout the rest of your life.

Gina is a current computer science student. When not in front of the computer doing research, you can find her curled up with a good book.

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