Utilize Your Resources to Ask for Help or Learn Something New!

Many free resources are available for you in college. Do you take advantage of them?

Utilize Your Resources to Ask for Help or Learn Something New!

One piece of advice my mom gave me during my time in college was utilizing the free resources at my disposal from talking with professors to visiting the career center and checking out various workshops. There are people to help you and talk with when things in life become unbearable at times. Plus, attending workshops lends you opportunities to learn something new.

I found myself taking advantage of those resources during my final two years at Smith College, years that I consider the most difficult, yet rewarding, times of my life so far. I admit—and I’m probably not the only one who’s done this—to ignoring the free resources advice. I didn’t want to bother people and I felt I didn’t have time with a busy schedule to really take advantage of the resources available.

I’m glad to say that I was wrong many, many times.

Recently, I visited the Lazarus Center, my Alma mater’s career center, for help with the job search; talking about my resume and cover letter and discussing my networking skills as I’ve been struggling to find work since graduating last year. Every time I walk out of there, I am motivated and encouraged about what I’ve done so far and find new tools to enhance my search. I’m eternally grateful that recent grads can still utilize the Lazarus Center for up to 5 years after they finish school. Alumni, don’t forget you can also check out your college’s Alumnae page for get-togethers, to get in touch with alums in your field and access other career development resources!

Some other resources Smith has available for students include but are not limited to:

  • Schacht Center for Health and Wellness for counseling and psychiatric services
  • Office Hours with professors talking about papers and discussions in class
  • Jacobson Center for writing help 
  • Spinelli Center for Quantitative Learning for tutoring, study sessions and workshops (useful for those taking courses including Economics, Sociology and Astronomy)
  • Center for Religious and Spiritual Life to talk with community religious advisers and check out weekly worship gatherings/events

Another resource to consider are lectures or panel-style talks. In Smith’s English Department, they hold 3 to 4 events each semester called Literary Lunches where faculty and students share their work, talk about upcoming creative writing courses, new ideas going on in the classroom and more. One useful Literary Lunch for me was called “How to Be a Writer in the World” where our English professors discussed the writing process, making time to write and how to keep writing when discouragement or writer’s block arises in your life. Another was an author talk by alum and author Ruth Ozeki discussing her writing journey and books.  I always found it handy taking notes at some of these talks because you have something to look back on when you’re trying to recall a thought or idea a panelist or lecturer shared.  You never know what you’ll discover about what you love, the line of work you see yourself doing down the road or about an alum or person you admire.

Plus, if you’re an introvert like me, some anecdotes can make for deep, rich conversations with your friends and family.

One has to remember, though, that some resources may not work for everyone. That’s okay! If a resource doesn’t work out, you don’t have to keep doing it. Sometimes seeing a different person or attending talks on other campuses can help too. Don’t ever feel like you have to stick with one person or go to another workshop if the topic, or ideas, didn’t interest you. I know a few friends who didn’t feel a resource helped them as much as they’d hoped but found other things that did.

If you’re not familiar with the resources available at your college, ask a friend or professor. They might have some advice you could benefit from and lead you in the right direction.

Never be afraid to ask for help or learn something new because you never know what a lecture, panel, professor or counselor will do for your life. Hopefully, that resource will be something to look back and smile about later in life, and be proud of for checking out or doing.

Image: BBMQuotes (Flickr.com)

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