The Halfway Point

BY COLLEEN CALLAHAN, ELON IMEDIA CLASS OF 2010

I can’t believe it’s been a year since my Winter Term trip in 2010.

I too, like Meghan, visited Costa Rica, developed a project for the common good at EARTH University and learned about living “Pura Vida.” At this point last year, as I’m sure current iMedia students are realizing, I said to myself: “Oh. My. Gosh. I’m over halfway finished with this program!” It was both exciting and terrifying.

While it’s easy to get caught up in in the whirlwind of graduation and assignments, looking back there are certain things I wish I would’ve started developing and fine-tuning at this point. Without further ado, here’s what I recommend to iMedia students at the halfway point in preparation of the real world (and anyone else who wants to get ahead).

1. Focus Your Social Media Sites

In the iMedia program, we created a Twitter account, multiple blogs, a Delicious account and more. In the first semester, much of this was trial and error. We found our styles, fortes and which platforms we liked. Now, it’s time to go back and make it professional. Tailor it to the career you’d like–delete anything that doesn’t fit. Then continue on whatever path you set for yourself. I’ve just now started doing this (you can follow my Daily Music History tweets via @collcallahan) and realize I should have done this much earlier.

2. Incorporate Informational Interviews With Projects

One of the best assignments our professor, Janna Anderson, had us do last year included interviewing at least 4 professionals for a research paper. While most of us probably dreaded mustering up the courage to reach out to strangers, this is one of the best things students can do to prep for a career. Projects and papers give the perfect reason to reach out to a professional and ask for help and advice. Flatter them, and make a connection. Once you do this, develop a rapport and stay in touch with them till graduation. One of my peers from undergrad did this and landed a summer internship at NBC. You will need mentors and connections, and you might as well do it now.

3. Know What Matters to You

Last year, the best piece of advice I received from a professor was to prioritize. It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of classes and assignments. However think about it–which one will help you most directly in your career path and future? Which will go in your portfolio? Which will you talk about in an interview? Put forth your best effort in those assignments. I’m not saying don’t do your other work, but always keep in mind what will get you ahead and make you an expert in your field. This can also apply to undergrads, high schoolers, or anyone without enough time in the day.

Good luck, class of 2011, with your second semester. It will go by way too fast.

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