Take advantage of extracurriculars

I have used my column in The Flor Ala as an opportunity to try to bring to light some funny things I see on campus—poorly. Instead of writing a rant of failing jokes, I want to talk about something of greater importance: getting a job out of college.

I like to think my peers came to UNA to be the most prepared and marketable candidates they can. Does that mean having a 4.0 GPA? I like to think not (or that’s what I try to convince my parents of every semester after finals). I like to think a 4.0 could potentially hurt you—let me finish before you put the paper in the one recycle bin on campus.

The Friday of winter break, I went to Montgomery to tour the Hyundai production plant and participate in a forum with two of the company’s vice presidents.

This trip was phenomenal. As a student studying public relations and marketing, I took a lot from this day. I snagged some impressive business cards and gained valuable experience. Ashley Frye, Hyundai vice president for production, told me the most important advice I can give you for the changing job market is always go above and beyond. When given a task by your employer, ask “what else can I do to help?”

Consequently, I realized if robots decided to take over the world they could easily do so after looking at the technology at the plant.

On my four-hour drive back to Florence, I asked some of the international and domestic students who participated in the the free trip—organized by Dr. Santanu Borah, professor of management and marketing—why they spent their holiday this way. Their response was like mine; they knew how important it would be in a competitive job market to take advantage of every learning opportunity outside the classroom and shake as many hands as possible.

A question I often ask of employers is “what do you look for in an applicant?” The response is continually a resume that shows the candidate took the initiative to gain as much experiential learning from various opportunities. I usually follow up my original question with, “Does a 4.0 GPA equate to a profitable employee?” Continually, the response is a resounding “no.”

I think education is fundamental and wish I had a better GPA, but I would never exchange it for the extracurricular actives I have been a part of. Some are capable of having both a perfect GPA and being active. Those people suck. You know who you are, and—if you’re available—I could use some tutoring in my math class.