College should be experienced inside and outside the classroom

You may be an encyclopedia or a rare gemstone but if you aren’t networking with people who might give you a push, you might finish last. | Heidi Cuevas, PantherNOW

Benz De Marshall Pierre | Staff Writer

Maintaining good grades is only part of what will contribute to a successful time in college. They’re arguably more important things that can keep you on top of your studies, both in the classroom and outside of it.

If you care about your grades like I do, professor selection is crucial. Generally, FIU counts some excellent professors who will not only do their part in making you fall in love with a subject and excel in it, but will also inspire you to explore them further by doing your own research. 

Conversely, expect some professors to give you a hard time adjusting to their demands. A friend of mine who graduated last summer confided to me how some tough professors caused his GPA to drastically decrease. If you intend to go to graduate school, you should be mindful of who your professors are because they have some power over your future. 

One website that helped me navigate this is ratemyprofessor, a website I am sure many of you are familiar with. However, keep in mind that these reviews are sometimes either from disgruntled students who didn’t do their due diligence and got bad grades, or from fanatics who will not provide an objective assessment of that professor. 

But so far, ratemyprofessor has not failed me, but it must be used wisely. 

Many professors are truly passionate about their field and will always welcome an opportunity to share that with curious students. If you show interest in knowing more about the field, they will memorize your name, and who knows, maybe they will be lenient with you in case you miss an assignment. 

Apart from this, make sure not to miss the career fairs, and other academic events that go beyond the classroom. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. Even though I dislike it when knowledge is being trivialized we must be realistic, the world seems to work that way. 

You may be an encyclopedia  or a rare gemstone but if you aren’t networking with people who might give you a push, you might finish last.

This means that you have to actively knock on several doors so that you may improve your prospects after graduation. Handshake and LinkedIn are good places to start and I would encourage you to create your account now. 

Internships are critical when it comes to networking, and FIU offers a variety for each major. Since there are so many people with a college diploma in the United States, the job market can feel as though it’s quite saturated, and companies aren’t always willing to show the ropes to fresh graduates while giving them excellent pay.

As someone who is navigating these waters right now, it’s distressing. It can be argued that this is happening because we are inexperienced, but it’s hard to spend 4 years studying only to earn a modicum salary while having to pay down crushing student debt. 

Applying to internships can give you valuable experience before your graduation, and it’s preferable to have it cater to your major, but some may not be. 

The objective is to be exposed to the environment that you are likely to enter, and thereby compensate for the required years of experience that are likely going to be required of you- otherwise you could just pocket the small pay. 

You should also value quiet times of study. If that can’t be accomplished at home because of your chatty abuela, then consider coming to the FIU Green Library on MMC, or the Hubert Library or any other spot on campus where you won’t be disturbed by a cacophony of voices. 

Joining a club of like-minded peers can also contribute to an excellent time in college and help with networking. FIU is vast, and it’s quite easy to feel lonely in it. A club that aligns with your interests will narrow this humongous campus and instill you with a feeling of belonging. 

And lastly, breathe and seek help! School can make us all anxious. The assignment deadlines, the personal commitments, and the biting feeling that we are falling under, can be overwhelming. We are here to learn, not have our soul crushed. 


The opinions presented on this page do not represent the views of the PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

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