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New TTU Student Orientation

Welcome to Tennessee Tech University!

For those of you who are going to be graduate students here at Tech, this post if chock-full of resources to help guide you along the path of graduate school.

First of all, make sure to come to the New Graduate Student Orientation on August 23rd in Johnson Hall Auditorium Room 103 (1pm to 5:00pm).

There, you will not only be able to meet fellow grad students in the program, but you will also meet the faculty and staff who will help support you on your journey. The orientation is designed to help familiarize you to campus and academic resources as well as Cookeville as a whole. The following information covers all of the important links and reminders for new graduate students.

Checklist and Reminders for New Students

Things to Do

  1. Financial Aid: Make sure all paperwork is in order.
  2. Graduate Assistantship: Applications can be found at www.tntech.edu/graduatestudies/financial
  3. Student Email Account: Sign in, it’s the main method of contact by the university.
  4. Advisement: Contact the person listed on your Certificate of Admission.
  5. Register: Login to Eagle online and register for courses.
  6. Parking permit: Get a permit if you will be parking on campus.
  7. Complete Admission Requirements: If you lack any requirements for admission, it will be indicated on your Certificate of Admission. All admission requirements must be meet by the end of the first semester or a registration hold will be placed on your account.
  8. Advisory Committee: Start thinking about which faculty members you want.
  9. Forms: Go to the Graduate Studies website and click on the FORMS link and familiarize yourself with the forms we have available.
  10. International students: Check in with the International Education office.

Things to Be Aware of

  1. Permissible Loads: There are limits in some situations.
  2. Grades: Know what grades are required to avoid dismissal or probation.
  3. Program of Study and Admission to Candidacy forms: You’ll need to file one by the end of the semester in which you will earn 15 credit hours of graduate level courses. Failure to turn in your program of study by this time will result in a registration hold.
  4. Admission to Candidacy: Find out what the process is for your degree.
  5. Changes: Learn how to make changes and the proper forms to use.
  6. Degree Completion Time Limits: Six consecutive years to complete a master’s or specialist in education; eight consecutive years to complete a doctorate.
  7. Comprehensive Exam: Learn about your department and degree’s comprehensive exam (when, where, and how).
  8. Thesis/Dissertation: TTU has a specific format for theses and dissertations. Attend a workshop before you begin writing.
  9. Graduation: You must apply for graduation in the semester you plan to complete your degree. All applications are due by the published deadline posted on our Graduate Student Calendar by semester.

Other Academic Links:

Graduate Student Handbook

Student Affairs

Graduate Student Calendar

Graduate Studies Faculty Contact Info

Tennessee Tech News

Campus Resources

Campus Map

Tennessee Tech Library

Health Services

Dining Options

Fitness Center

Cookeville Links

Restaurants

Recreation

Map of Cookeville Recreation

Cookeville Events

5 Ways You Can Save Money in Grad School

Many people entering their first year of graduate study experience anxiety over how they are going to pay for their education and make ends meet while they pursue their degree. There is no denying the fact that most graduate students do experience financial challenges, but there are several cost cutting solutions graduate students can employ to bank some extra savings before starting school.

1.Get a second job

While this is definitely easier said than done, one of the best ways to save money is to earn more. But before you submit an application at your local chain restaurant consider more appealing or less stressful employment options. Look into freelance opportunities, tutoring, or even dog-sitting. Find creative ways to earn extra cash doing the things that you love.

2.Live with a roommate or your family

Save on rent and other living expenses by getting a roommate or living with a family member. While giving up some of your privacy is a significant sacrifice, the savings gained by sharing the burden of rent, food, cable and internet costs may outweigh the minor inconvenience of sharing your living space. Plus having a roomie can be fun.

3.Buy used

Head to the local thrift shop or cruise yard sales to find deals on necessary items. Yard sales and online consumer to consumer marketplaces are a great way to find gently used items. Bonus – cruising yard sales can be a good way to enjoy some free fun, who doesn’t like spending time outdoors picking though other peoples stuff.

4.Walk

Save money on gas by living close to public transportation or in an area that has many amenities within walking distance. If you can figure out a way to live without a car all together, you can save a significant amount of money by eliminating monthly car payments and insurance costs.

5.Eat Smart

Don’t go out to eat, and if you do try to take advantage of specials and coupons. Save money by sharing meals with your dinner dates. When you go grocery shopping, avoid expensive meats opt for frozen veggies, and healthy pastas, this frugal diet may even save you inches on your waistline.

Saving money is never easy, but the correct motivation, such as your future as a graduate degree holder, may help you to make the short term sacrifices necessary to achieve long term success. When you feel the urge to splurge take the time to consider if the expense is worth it in the long run.

Essential Things to Have as a Grad Student

Gone are the days of sleeping late, partying early, and attending only half of your classes.

You are now a graduate student and the expectations are just a bit higher. It’s time to step up your game and be prepared in every manner speaking. So why not ensure you have all the essential items you need to succeed in grad school with you at all times.

Purchase a Lightweight Laptop

Do you want to show up to class taking notes in a notebook or a monster of a laptop? Bite the bullet and get yourself a super lightweight, easy to transport laptop or tablet hybrid. Make sure you can type on it easily and it gets good battery life. This is the single most important tool you can invest in that will help you stay organized and on top of your work throughout your grad school experience. Plus you’ll just look cooler and more in the know if you take the time to research this purchase and make a great investment. Visit PC World for reviews and comparisons.

It’s all in the Bag

Once you have your laptop purchased, find yourself a great bag. Look for something that suits your personality while at the same time presents a professional image. Take time with this purchase and check out different bags. Find one you love that also has the right amount of compartments and space to help keep you organized. You want to be able to access whatever you are looking for quickly.

Yes, You Need Business Cards

You are going back to graduate school to become a professional. One of the most significant things you can gain during the experience is an enhanced network of friends in your field of interest. Take advantage of your time there and be sure to let people know who you are. You can get business cards in a lot of places but probably the easiest and least expensive route for professional looking cards is VistaPrint. Take the time before you begin class, to put your details together in one of their great business card templates. Make sure you have a strong and professional email address for this purpose.

Other Tech Gadgets

You will find it invaluable to have with you an ipod, headphones and a USB stick. Music during downtime, or to block out unwanted noise while studying is great, but you can also use it to listen to audiocasts regarding all kinds of subject matter. If your phone works just as well as an ipod, save the room in your bag, but don’t forget about the headphones. A USB stick will be incredibly helpful in sharing files, notes and assignments with your classmates. Buy some that are inexpensive and have a few handy at all times that you won’t mind lending out. Try to get the ones with attached covers so you never have to worry about losing that part of it.

Band-Aids, Cough Drops & Advil Oh My!

Chances are that you, or one of your classmates, will require these items at some point in the upcoming semesters. There is nothing worse than having to sit through a long class with a pounding headache or persistent cough or having to go out of your way to find a band-aid. Aside from your own well being, this is an opportunity to be prepared. Be the person that people go to if they need help. It’s just one more way to build up your network of friends and acquaintances.

A Water Bottle…and Not the Kind That Ends up in Landfills

It is a given that your time in grad school will be incredibly busy and very stressful. Throughout the experience, it’s important to make sure you take care of yourself. One of the easiest and best ways of doing this is to stay hydrated. Most of us don’t drink nearly enough water and this is worsened by stress and busy schedules. Make a point to have a refillable water bottle with you at all times and stay hydrated so you can be at your best throughout the day.

Why Go to Graduate School

You may wonder why some still go to grad school once they finish college?

Is it because they are afraid to work or no one hires them so they might as well go on studying in grad school?

Honestly, some have that reason for going to grad school. However the most common reasons are:

To specialize. Some want to narrow down their knowledge on a specific subject. Biology graduates would want to specialize in specific biological fields such as ecology, taxonomy, or biotechnology. Some business graduates may want to specialize in marketing, entrepreneurship, or financial management. Specialization through grad school is faster than specializing through work experience.

To have a higher pay. Most job promotions are based on educational qualifications. Master’s or doctor’s degree entails a higher pay. Just ask your professors.

Networking. You will meet different people in grad school. Grad school is an opportunity for you to widen your circle of friends.

Personal Achievement. Grad school education doesn’t just teach you pure knowledge of concepts and principles in your field. Some values that you will learn through it are patience, perseverance, hard work, and professionalism. Once you earn a degree, you will be able to gain more self confidence.

You may have your own reasons for going to grad school. You can add to this list by using the comment link below.

Financing Graduate School

Given how much of a monetary commitment graduate school is, it’s best to find as many financial resources as possible.

Financing your graduate education is one of the critical factors when considering a graduate program. You want to make sure that you are getting the most out of your investment. But often it’s hard to know where to begin and what options are available. Tennessee Tech has a number of resources for graduate students. While a student can pursue taking out a loan, there are other options, including:

Graduate Assistantships

Diversity Fellowship

Other Federal Student Aid Funding Resources

Below are some tips from University of Maryland graduate, Joe Oudin:

1. Start thinking about your graduate school finances early.

Before you even begin applications, you should understand what loans you already have and consider what your financial situation might look like as a graduate student. If you’re considering graduate school at the same institution you attended for undergrad, look for opportunities to get graduate credit while you’re still an undergrad. When I was an undergraduate senior, my university allowed me to take graduate courses that counted toward my master’s degree and saved me thousands in future tuition expenses.

2. Learn about the different types of federal aid for graduate students.

Your federal aid package will probably be different than what you were offered as an undergraduate. FAFSA4caster can give you an idea of what types of federal aid you will qualify for. Graduate students have a variety of federal student aid options and are considered independent on the FAFSA. Make sure you complete your FAFSA on time. You might have to complete it even before you know your admission status.

3. Seek funding opportunities at your particular university or graduate program.

Individual schools offer a variety of graduate funding options such as scholarships, graduate assistantships, and graduate fellowships. These are sometimes a more significant source of aid for graduate students than federal aid. When you’re trying to decide on a graduate program, make sure you compare the types of funding offered to students. Once you commit to a graduate program, proactively seek funding opportunities from your program or university.

4. Be proactive and stay on top of everything.

I enrolled in a graduate program at the same university as my undergraduate study, so I expected a smooth transition. A few weeks after I committed to my graduate program, I received a notification from the university saying I was ineligible for financial aid. After a moment of panic, I realized there was no way that this could be true. It turned out that there was confusion in the school’s computer system because I was enrolled as both an undergraduate and a graduate. The problem was easily fixed when I called my school’s financial aid office. Despite submitting my FAFSA and all other paperwork correctly and on time, I still ran into a few speed bumps. With grad school, it is ultimately your responsibility to make sure that everything is submitted correctly and to follow up when necessary. Being proactive can make the financial aid process go much more smoothly

Finding Housing in Cookeville

If you’re from out of town, it’s important to explore all of your housing options before deciding on a place to live.

Luckily, Cookeville is a really cheap place to find housing. According to this site, Cookeville’s cost of living is decently lower than the U.S. average. In addition, Cookeville’s housing costs are even lower, with an average of $526 rent for a 1-bedroom apartment. But it’s important to know what will suit you best.

On-Campus Housing

Some students choose to stay on-campus due to the convenience of location, safety, and low-maintenance upkeep. Alcohol and smoking are prohibited, and students who choose to stay over semester breaks can make special housing arrangements with an additional daily charge.

Residence Halls

Tennessee Tech has on-campus residence halls  with semester rates ranging from $2,525 for a 1 person room in a traditional hall to $4,795 for a double room as a single room buyout in the new halls.

Tech Village Apartments

Students can also choose to live in a Tech Village Apartment, which is designed to feel more like an apartment and less like a dorm room. The rates are also a bit cheaper than the residence halls, ranging from $1,370 for a two-bedroom split between 4 people to $5,480 for a two-bedroom for one person.

Finding Housing Off-Campus

Many students choose to live in apartments or houses off-campus due to the high availability of affordable options. It’s important to figure out what kind of place you’re looking for by determining your preferences:

  • Price range
  • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Proximity to campus
  • Pets/no pets
  • Smoking/non-smoking
  • Utilities included/not included in rent
  • Washer/Dryer hookups or laundry service availability
  • Roommates/no roommates
  • Furnished/unfurnished
  • Wi-fi/internet availability
  • Other preferences

The following are some resources available for Cookeville housing:

http://www.homes.com/rentals/cookeville-tn/

https://cookeville.craigslist.org/search/apa

https://www.trulia.com/for_rent/Cookeville,TN/

http://www.rentalguide.net/Rentals/TN/City/Cookeville/Listings.html

https://hotpads.com/cookeville-tn/houses-for-rent

https://www.apartments.com/cookeville-tn/

http://www.homesandland.com/For-Rent/Cookeville,TN/

https://www.rentjungle.com/cookeville-tn-apartments-and-houses-for-rent/

5 Keys to Grad School Success

Starting graduate school can be stressful and intimidating, whether you are just completing your undergraduate work or going back to school after a period of time in the ‘real world’. To combat this feeling of uncertainty, I have found that students are likely to be happier and more successful if they focus their efforts. Here are five keys to help you be more focused and purposeful in graduate school:

1.  Become an Expert Now 

The challenge many students face is whether to graduate as a generalist or as a specialist. Dan Schwabel makes the case to think of yourself as both.  For example, a law student should strive to become an excellent generalist attorney, which requires developing overall legal acumen (e.g. learn how to draft contracts, interact with clients, craft arguments, etc.). However, aspiring attorneys must also look into a few specific areas of practice (e.g. real estate law, family law, etc.) to begin assessing what area of law is most appealing to pursue as a career.

2.  Be Learning-Centric

You may have heard the expression “the joy is in the journey”. In graduate school, instead of putting all your focus on good grades (which are, admittedly, important), consider also addressing the question: “How will this class or assignment help make me be a better practitioner?” View your instructor a partner in answering these questions, someone who can assist you at multiple points during your journey of building a productive and satisfying career.

3.  Rethink the Way You Learn (from Pedagogy to Andragogy)

In the years preceding graduate school, students are often spoon-fed information from a subject matter expert (teacher), then asked to regurgitate it for tests. In graduate school, depending on your discipline, you may be expected to contribute content based on your experience. Come to class ready to discuss and apply experiences you’ve faced in and out of the classroom. Facts are always important, but your ability to think about their relevance and application in various contexts is what will truly help you stand out as a professional.

4.  Practice, Practice, Practice

Theoretical methodologies certainly have their place in the learning process; however, practice is where the greatest learning occurs. Herminia Ibarra states: “To launch ourselves anew, we need to get out of our heads. We need to act.” Seek opportunities where you can apply your newly-acquired skills (Ibarra calls these moments “experiments”) immediately. Experiments include volunteering, part-time gigs, taking on project work, temporary assignments, etc. These application-based experiences are also great to help build your resume.

5.  Build Relationships

By attending graduate school you are developing your new identity. Making connections with your fellow students and professionals in your chosen field will open doors to employment, resources, and lead to new, unique experiences. Take the time to start building relationships with professors, fellow students, and the professionals in your field now. You won’t ever be sorry you did this.

Good luck and remember: your career, like every other aspect of your life, is a journey. Just by enrolling in graduate school, you have made a huge leap forward in developing your professional brand and expertise.

5 Cheap Ideas for Hangouts

Sometimes it’s easy to make friends at school. You spend lots of time in the same places: class, student organizations, campus jobs and local hangouts. But other times, like when you move off campus or start graduate school, it can feel like you never see your pals.

Try out one of these entertaining ideas to bring your old friends back together and maybe even get closer to some acquaintances.

Lazy dinner party
The key ingredients for a bona fide grown-up dinner party are friends, food, a place and a time. Lots of dinner parties are fancy, with proper place settings and mailed invitations, but simpler dinner parties can be a great way to catch up with your friends without spending a bunch of time or money.

  • Start with the time. You’ll want to pick a time people are free, obviously, but less “dinner-y” times (like Sunday brunch or the afternoon of a bank holiday) can make for fun themes.
  • If your place is small, reduce clutter, move as much furniture out of the way as you can, and be sure to have enough seating and places for people to set down their plates and cups. You can host a lazy dinner party in half a dorm room if you want to! Alternately, persuade someone with a more spacious locale to co-host with you.
  • If you have a lot of close friends but not a lot of money for food, provide the main course yourself and ask guests to bring sides, drinks and desserts. Food can be based off of your theme or totally random.
  • Keep your space and food restrictions in mind when planning a guest list. Invite people you like spending time with, and recruit a buddy to text people the day before so they’re more likely to show.

Poker night
Poker (or Cards Against Humanity, Dungeons and Dragons, MarioKart…) makes for a low-pressure get together, because there’s something to focus on during lulls in the conversation that doesn’t demand constant attention while you’re trying to catch up. Plus, it’s super easy to plan: just pick a game and add in some snacks, drinks and friends.

Netflix themed party
Netflix is full of entertaining potential! Original series, all kinds of movies, TV shows from childhood and more. Select a feature and invite your friends to bring food, drinks and other activities for a few hours of fun. Here are a few examples:

  • Friends: Binge watch a season (or five) while playing the trivia board game, eating Monica-inspired snacks and taking Buzzfeed quizzes about Ross Geller.
  • Documentary competition: challenge your friends to find the weirdest (most conspiratorial, most niche…) documentary. Watch the winner and see who has the best commentary.

Barbecue at the park
It’s hard to have a backyard barbecue if you don’t have a backyard. Lucky for you, there are parks everywhere, and most of them have tables and grills that can be used for free. In warm weather, cook up burgers and hotdogs and enjoy the sunshine. On cooler days, use a fire pit, get some fresh air or have a snowball fight!

GRE Information and Study Tips

Most graduate programs require taking the GRE (Graduate Record Exam).

Every year, more than 700,000 people take the Graduate Record Exam, commonly known as the GRE. While the test is similar in many ways to its college-entrance cousin, the SAT, there are some important differences.

Unlike the SAT, the GRE is most commonly taken as a computer-adaptive test

This means there’s no need for a No. 2 pencil and those all-too-familiar bubble sheets. On the computer-based test, the difficulty of the questions is based on the accuracy of your answers to previous questions. The better you perform on the first sets of 20 verbal and quantitative reasoning questions, the harder the next sets of 20 questions will be.

The GRE is broken down into three primary components: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing

For the verbal reasoning section, test takers have two 30-minute periods to answer two sets of 20 questions. Test-takers answer two sets of 20 quantitative reasoning questions, with 35 minutes to answer each set. The analytical writing section consists of two essays, for which test takers get 30 minutes to write each. The verbal and quantitative reasoning sections are graded on a 130- to 170-point scale in 1-point increments, and the analytical writing section is scored on a 0-6 scale in half-point increments.

Having a good SAT/ACT score and GPA don’t ensure that tackling the GRE will be a simple task

The GRE doesn’t necessarily test on a student’s knowledge or aptitude. Rather, it tests students on how well they can take the GRE. Therefore, there are specific things that students need to focus on in order to do well on the test.

 

Below are six surefire studying tips for the GRE:

1. Go back to high school

Having trouble differentiating your X-axis from your Y? Have too many late nights in college wiped away the important teachings of Pythagoras? You’re not alone. Many GRE test takers are many years removed from the basic tenets of high school math, which play an important part in the quantitative section of the test. If you’re rusty, it’s important to revisit the concepts of algebra and geometry that you learned in high school.

“Algebra and geometry are assumed background knowledge in college courses, and you will be hard-pressed to find a class to take at that level [that] will prepare you directly for questions of this type,” says Eric Reiman, a GRE tutor with Creative Tutors. “If you’re preparing for the GRE alone, a text like Algebra for Dummies or Geometry for Dummies could be a great help, and both come with example problems to work.”

2. Sleep with your dictionary

While the GRE’s quantitative section is not much more advanced than the math found in the SAT—and familiarity with concepts learned in high school should be enough to post a decent score—the verbal section went to college and graduated with honors in English. Test takers who slept through their English classes or turned to SparkNotes may be in trouble.

During your time in school, be sure to read as much as possible to expand your vocabulary so that you can decipher unfamiliar words, testing experts say. You can assimilate far more diverse vocabulary over four years of college than you could ever hope to by cramming for a few weeks or months prior to the GRE.

“As a successor to the SAT, the GRE uses adult words that aren’t found on the SAT,” says Reiman. “It is extremely important for success on the qualitative sections of the GRE to be well read.”

3. Take a GRE prep course (if you can afford it)

According to Andrew Mitchell, director of pre-business programs at Kaplan Test Prep, the GRE is designed specifically to differ from areas of study in college and is supposed to be a measure of a college graduates’ critical thinking skills, not necessarily what they learned in school.

No matter how much cramming you might’ve done in college or how stellar your grades were, thinking critically might not come naturally. The tutoring classes tend to pay off, but are a sizable investment. Kaplan’s instructor-led classes cost more than $1,000 for about eight on-site sessions. Twenty-five hours of private GRE tutoring with Kaplan can cost roughly $3,000.

“It’s worth investing some time and money in preparing for the GRE,” says Mitchell. “Critical thinking is something that’s hard to change overnight because it’s such a lifelong skill. We try to help people unlock their critical thinking skills by getting more familiar with the test and more familiar with proven methods.” Another option for building critical thinking that’s a little easier on the checkbook is using the free resources on the Educational Testing Services (ETS) website. Sample questions and essay responses, advice, and scoring guides are available online from the folks who created the GRE.

4. Take a practice test

While your vocabulary may be impeccable, your writing skills polished, and your quantitative abilities sharpened to a razor’s edge, none of that matters if you’re unaccustomed to the test’s unconventional format.

“To walk into this test unprepared, to sit down [and take it] having never done it before is suicide,” notes Neill Seltzer, national GRE content director for the Princeton Review. Educational Testing Service, the Princeton Review, and Kaplan all have free computer adaptive tests online that help simulate what is a foreign experience to many.

“It’s different from the SAT, and that really threw me off the first time,” says Amy Trongnetrpunya, who earned a perfect score on the quantitative section of the GRE after scoring poorly on her first try. “The computer-adaptive practice exam really helped.”

5. Don’t like your score? Take it again

Schools have access to any GRE scores for tests you’ve taken in the last five years, but experts claim that many universities only care about the best one. While this isn’t true for all schools and all programs, many universities pull the highest scores from the GRE ticket they receive from ETS. The admissions officials (and sometimes work-study students) who receive the tickets are the first line of defense, and oftentimes, they record only the top score when they’re compiling your file before sending it up the admissions food chain. “Even though ETS will report every score, the person reading that file and making the admissions decision may only see the highest math and highest verbal,” says Seltzer.

6. Take a tough English course

Even if you aren’t an English major and don’t plan on writing the next great American novel, honing your writing skills is integral to overall success on the GRE. The two essays in the analytical section take up roughly one third of the time test takers are allotted. Some testing experts argue that near the end of college you should take a high-level English or writing course. While enduring a high-level writing course might put a small dent in the GPA (and ego) of non-English majors, it is an immense help when it’s time to crank out two timed essays on the pressure-packed GRE.

“I would emphasize taking a few rigorous English and writing college courses, in addition to test prep, to best prepare yourself for the caliber of questions you’ll find on the GRE,” says Alexis Avila, founder and president of Prepped & Polished, a Boston area-based college counseling and tutoring firm.

 

4 Ways Your Summer Job Can Jumpstart Your Career

Are you making the most of your summer job? Perhaps you’re “just waitressing” or working at the mall or a grocery store. But, did you know that a temporary summer job can help boost your future career?

In fact, did you know that New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg was once a parking lot attendant? Or that Howie Mandel started out as an amusement park attendant? There are lots of great stories about first jobs of many famous and successful people in this MSN Money story – but my point is this: just because you’re not in your dream job now, doesn’t mean you can’t be working like you’re in your dream job.

So, how can you make the most of your summer job?

1) Don’t treat it like “just a summer job.”

Whether you’re working at a fast food restaurant, in retail or even babysitting, this is your chance to build a foundation of experience! Look closely at your job responsibilities. What skills do you use every day at work that can be applied to your future career?

Likely, you’re building organizational skills and you’re learning to be accountable for yourself, and you’re undoubtedly gaining customer service experience. All of these things are called transferable skills – a versatile set of skills that you can apply to more than one job.

So, while you may not even be working in your major field this summer, you are gaining experience that can be applied to your future career. Take your job seriously this summer!

2) Be Proactive

Use your summer job as an opportunity to try new things, experiment with your abilities and gain new skills. To do this, you need to set some realistic goals and establish clear communication with your supervisor.

Perhaps you can request to work on a special project or shadow another employee who has greater responsibilities than you; or you can ask for some responsibilities beyond your day-to-day tasks.

Want to gain some financial acumen? Ask to shadow someone in the accounting department. Want to improve your organizational skills? Ask to lead a project or take on responsibilities in the stock room. If you think about all of the departments that make the business run where you’re working this summer, you’ll likely see opportunities in many areas.

3) Assess Your Strengths and Weaknesses

As you gain experience this summer, make a list of your accomplishments – and your failures. What were you good at? What didn’t go so well? What did you love to do? What did you decide that you never want to do again?

Once you have a list that summarizes your summer work experience, you can use this information to help build your resume and a list of skills that you want to either acquire or improve on in the coming months. This process can help you choose classes for the fall – for example, if you learn that speaking in front of others is a weakness, you can take a public speaking class. Creating this list can also help you in selecting internships and finding future jobs that will help advance your skill set as you prepare for your future career.

4) Find a Mentor

Perhaps more important than any other aspect of your summer job, you are provided an opportunity to develop relationships with others who could become a mentor to you. Having a mentor to guide you in your career development, to help you network with others and to provide honest feedback and suggestions about your work, your skills and your potential … is priceless.

Some of the most successful people have sought a mentor at a various times in their career. In fact, many executives continue to seek mentors long into their well-established careers. Some even have more than one mentor at a time! Once established, though, these relationships will encourage you to stretch and reach for your potential, to truly build your legacy and your career.

So, while you might think of your summer job as “just a summer job,” think again. As Steve Martin once said, “I just believe that the interesting time in a career is pre-success, what shaped things, how did you get to this point.” Now is your time to write your story, to build your success, before you have a career.