College: Remembering why you're here

Chancellor's Messages

Ronnie D. Green, Ph.D.

College: Remembering why you're here

College students, you’ve reached the middle of fall semester. Now what?

Now is a good time to take account of your semester, and by that, I don't mean to confirm that you're checking off all the boxes on the syllabus of each course you're taking. Now is a good time to pull back and look at the big picture before you feel compelled to narrow your focus to the important preparation for final projects and exams. Now is a good time to remember why you’re here.

If you’re like the majority of college students, one of the top reasons why you’re here is to get a good job. As a member of the first generation of my family to earn a college degree, I can tell you that getting a good job was on the top of my mind when I was a student, too. As University of Nebraska–Lincoln chancellor, I can also tell you that there are lots of people right here on our campus and no doubt on yours who can help you with that.

Let’s start with the people teaching your classes - your professors. Asking serious, thoughtful questions in class or in office hours (I can attest that faculty love this, by the way) can be a great way to better understand the course material, and it can also be the first step to developing a relationship with faculty as mentors. And, mentor relationships are incredibly valuable in navigating future career paths. So, the next time you’re wondering whether or not it’s worth it to raise your hand in class or to stop by office hours or send that email to your professor, remember that I said it is. And do it.

Now, let’s talk about the people sitting next to you in your classes - your fellow students. Getting to know more of them will help you down the road, too. One of the best ways is to get involved in an organization on campus. Putting even just a small portion of your energy into engaging in an organization will help you get to know yourself and your fellow students better. It might even help you develop a passion that leads to a new skill which prepares you for a job someday. Nebraska has more than 500 registered student organizations. I’m sure your campus has options, too. If you have trouble choosing one, connect with the helpful staff in Student Involvement.

Speaking of staff, if you’re a first-year student and you have not yet participated in a program offered by staff who organize first-year student programs (ours are in the Office of First Year Experiences and Transition Programs), you should! They offer lots of ways to help you make sure you’re developing academic habits that lead to success (and in the future, good jobs). No matter how many years you’ve been on campus, you absolutely, positively should connect with staff in Career Services - yes, even you, first-year students. If it sounds like a no-brainer that Career Services staff can help you get a good job, it is. Career Services can help students at all levels take action right now that will put you in a better position to succeed on campus and after you graduate. 

To summarize, you’re on campus to learn more - about yourself and our world - and to prepare for the part of your life that comes after you’re here (when most students say they want a good job). Advocate now for your future self and connect with the professors, students and staff around you. Especially those friendly folks in Career Services, who can help you choose and develop a career path. That’s why they’re here.