Taking Risks and Being Spontaneous in Academic Life

There is a certain thrill to life in being spontaneous – impromptu adventures and last-minute plans can often end up being the most memorable. But how do you apply spontaneity to school and college life, a lifestyle that can seem so rigid and structured? In this article, I’ll give you my tips on how to have this approach towards your studies.

  1. Apply, apply, apply! 

We all have a habit of thinking low of ourselves or thinking we’re under-qualified. And, maybe, we are! However, this should seldom deter you from applying to a position or program. You can always mention that you’re an eager learner and you have a lot of passion for the subject, and many times, those “minimum” qualifications are not adhered to very rigidly. If you believe you can make up for something, then you should always go for it! There is nothing to lose. (besides maybe the time you spend on your application, but even that goes a long way when it comes to practicing your career skills, so I would say it isn’t lost!) Apply to positions efficiently by spending quality time on the programs you would love to join, and apply abundantly! You can always choose to decline an offer, but that opportunity only arises when you have offers.

2. Emails and Introductions

Most of our college interactions are spontaneous in themselves. The first day of classes, we usually strike up conversations with whoever ends up sitting next to us, and that can lead to a friendship, or even just a friendly small talk to make the air more comfortable. However, going to office hours just to make yourselves known to your professor is one of the most spoken about methods to create connections. Professors have dozens of connections and are often credited to the success of students in their fields, such as landing research positions, jobs, and internships. Stop by and say hi, or, more accurately for our current situation, send that introductory email!

3. Being on the Lookout for Opportunities

This is one of the easiest ways you can be spontaneous in academic life. Simply being more aware of your surroundings can help you find lots of avenues. You can do this in multiple ways, whether that means just glancing at bulletin boards weekly to see what’s going on, scrolling through social media, and joining email lists. Many times, opportunities pass from right under our noses simply because we weren’t in the right place at the right time. On the opposite side, though, being in the know can help you be in that right place at the right time!

As career fairs approach and you polish your resumés, try to have a little “fun” and press those “apply” buttons without second, third, or even fourth-guessing yourself. Remember that by applying, you can only gain something, not lose! 

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