Parent & Family Programs

Student Affairs

Four Years Out

Written by Karen Askins, AUPA Board of Director Representative for the Greater
Birmingham, AL area.

The old adage time flies couldn’t be more appropriate as my daughter sprints toward the finish line called graduation this May. Devon’s freshman year flew by, but the three years that followed passed at breakneck speed.

So many thoughts about Devon's experience at Auburn come to mind. While
friendships, roommates and social activities are all important parts of the college experience, something Devon said while speaking at a Camp War Eagle session truly resonated. She said that as much as she values the friendships she has gained in the activities in which she participated, her studies and dedication to her major are of most importance. She pointed out that how she invested her time during her four years at Auburn will likely determine the next 40 years of her life. With that thought in mind, I leave you these ideas:

  • Encourage your students to get to know their professors – all of them – each semester. Have them take the time to visit during office hours. Your student might never know which professor will end up being a true mentor and the very one they might look to for a reference or letter of recommendation in future years.
  • Have your student stay connected with their advisors. Should they be affiliated with more than one college, utilize both advisors. Advisors will be extremely helpful as they approach completing their academic career at Auburn and move on to gainful employment. Advisors will be key at helping them take that next step as they prepare for the future – from career planning to assistance with graduate applications to resume building.
  • Have your student consider volunteering in and earning service hours in an
    area that will align with their intended major. In this way, your student will
    benefit Auburn and the community while gaining valuable insight and knowledge into an intended future career. That’s a win-win.
  • Encourage your student to become meaningfully involved in Auburn. Seek out organizations that they can benefit and will benefit them. Encourage them to
    pursue a leadership role as they grow in that organization. Also encourage them to stay involved for the long haul, demonstrating dependability, responsibility and consistency. All of these attributes will grow them personally as well as serve as a plus on their resume. This real life experience will transfer to the job market.
  • Encourage them to seek a minor. One of Devon’s deans encouraged her to do so. At first she was resistant to the idea, but she took the advice. Pursuing her minor has been enriching to her academic experience and gave her the priceless
    opportunity to study abroad.
  • Recommend they invest time in public speaking courses. These are proving very beneficial to my daughter not only in a multitude of classes as she gives presentations but also as she entered mock interviews, interviews for letters of recommendation or reference and now medical school interviews.
  • Don’t procrastinate. My daughter found each year at Auburn to prove more
    academically challenging as she further delved into her major. Not only does the class load become heavier, the process of preparing applications and resumes becomes very important. Staying on top of all the responsibilities while they are small details rather than giant projects will be key…and less stressful.
  • Remember that internships fill up quickly. Your student needs to start searching intern possibilities during the fall or winter for summer positions. It’s never too soon to start interning and learning on the job.
  • Don’t overlook the importance of letters of reference. My daughter learned that professors prefer about a five-month lead-time for letters of reference. Hopefully your student will have established mentor relationships with certain professors. Your student will want to ask for letters of reference early on to allow the professor plenty of time to draft a wonderful reference on their behalf.

I must add that I learned these thoughts from my daughter. Early on in her college career I encouraged her to reach for the stars, and she took advantage of the opportunities Auburn University offers. Auburn has prepared her beyond measure. I could not be more thankful for this Loveliest Village. Auburn lives out the Creed.War Eagle to that!

Last modified: January 28, 2019