College is flying by fast. Think about all you’ve accomplished: adjusting to new living arrangements, making new friends and achieving new academic goals. What else is on your bucket list? Check out these possibilities:
Study abroad. Cuba. India. The United Arab Emirates. Indiana University senior Madeline Hudson will have experienced all three very different countries and cultures before she graduates with a degree in law and public policy. “I think that because I have studied abroad in places that are rather difficult to get to, it hasn’t been like a vacation, but a real learning opportunity,” Hudson said.
Travel can help you learn to function in a global marketplace and communicate across language barriers and cultures and boost your confidence and independence. On your resume, it shows prospective employers that you are willing to take risks and establish international connections.
While there are extra expenses associated with study abroad, cost alone shouldn’t stand in your way. Hudson found multiple scholarships to help fund her travels, and by taking shorter trips, the price tag was lower than trying to bite off the expense of an entire semester.
Travel and campus activities support her overall career goals—to work as a policy analyst or research fellow, or perhaps at a non-profit—and being involved makes college more interesting. Plus, she’s learned to really appreciate faculty interactions. “Professors love students who are engaged, and when you foster those professional relationships, you open yourself up to really amazing opportunities for further learning,” Hudson said.
Start a business. It started as a class assignment, but IU Northwest students Lindsey Liesenfelt, Branka Vukotic and Demi Kolintzas turned their required marketing plan into an online business and farmers market favorite, Truly Teas.
The three met in Professor llka Azemi’s Marketing Strategies class in the fall of 2017 and were assigned a group project. At the end of the semester, IU Northwest School of Business and Economics faculty judged the class’s projects and determined Truly Teas the winner. But it didn’t end there. Because they had already designed a logo, built a website, crafted a mission and vision statement and obtained proper permits, most of the work had been done for their enterprise, “to provide customers with the best-tasting, all natural, USDA Organic and Fair Trade Certified teas.”
With the continuing support of business school faculty, the company sells teas online and at local farmers markets, in flavors such as lemon ginger, coconut chai, mint and mango peach, along with sleek tea essentials, like tea infusers and stainless-steel bottles.
Starting a business as a student provided unique opportunities and a built-in support system, according to Liesenfelt. “The dean of the School of Business and Economics threw our opening party for us, and another professor helped us with our website. We have had a bunch of professors support us. They care and want us to succeed,” she said.
“I couldn’t be prouder of my degree,” Liesenfelt added. “I put my skills and degree to work.”
Find a cause you believe in. In addition to making the world a better place, volunteering on your campus, in the local community or abroad can instill a sense of purpose, help you make friends, and develop marketable skills. A 2015 University of Wisconsin study shows time spent volunteering also can impact students’ overall mental and emotional health.
Sisters Alexis Morales and Victoria Morales graduated from IU Northwest in May 2019, but they left behind a legacy: The RedHawks Nest, a food pantry serving the campus community.
In high school, the pair went door-to-door on Halloween with a wagon collecting food items to stock a local food pantry. In college, the Morales sisters teamed up again, doing the same with hopes of opening a food pantry to serve the IU Northwest community and easing food insecurity among students and staff.
They organized a Kan Jam tournament to collect food and personal care items, and with donated space to welcome patrons, the women continued to work towards eliminating the stigma of asking for assistance. The pair ran the RedHawks Nest on their own for the first year, and then, to ensure their endeavor carries on once they graduate, they made it into an official student club. They have a volunteer force of about 10 who help consistently, and interest is growing.
Intern in a new city. Internships are an opportunity to explore new places to live, especially if employers pay, or offer to cover all or part of your housing expenses. You can look far away, or in your own backyard: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology student Toluwa Nafiu spent the summer of 2019 with TechPoint’s Xtern program, which recruits high-caliber, tech-skilled college students for a 10-week summer internship that includes working alongside industry leaders at fast-growing Indianapolis tech companies (and the opportunity to live and make friends with more than 100 other Xterns from around the country).
“If I had to describe the Xtern program in one phrase it would be ‘above and beyond.’ From the TechPoint staff to the host companies to my fellow Xterns, everyone went above and beyond to make sure this was a summer to remember,” Nafiu said. “At the beginning of the program I was very nervous about my job, what to do in Indy, if I’d make friends, etc. However, between all the tech talks and social events, I was able to connect with exciting people, make amazing friends, and see more of the next-level tech opportunities that are here in Indianapolis.”
Calling All 21st Century Scholars!
If you’ll soon graduate as a 21st Century Scholar, make it a point to learn more about how to stay engaged with the program. Alumni can stay engaged by giving back to the program as a mentor, participating in networking opportunities, and donating to the program financially.
You’re eligible to join if you fulfilled the program requirements and earned a postsecondary degree or certificate.
Sign up at: scholars.in.gov/alumni