How to Set Yourself Up for Success

We’re over a month into the new school year, but it’s never too late for some tips for success.

Some of these are things I actually did, while others are things I wish I did. Overall, these are ways you can set yourself up for success during the rest of your time at the University of Iowa.

1. Get a part-time job (if you can) 

Coming into my freshman year, I knew I was going to work for the Iowa football team as a student video assistant. I started out as a volunteer my first semester, so I went four months without making any sort of income.

Looking back now, I wish I would have taken my parents advice and gotten a part-time job during that fall semester. It’s nice to have extra money to go to the movies or out to eat, or even to pay off some of the accruing interest on your student loans. Having a job is also a good way to work on your time management. Bonus points if the job is related to your future career.

Everyone’s situation is different, though. Some people don’t need a job during college, while others just don’t have time for one.

2. Find internship opportunities

The earlier you start, the better.

Internships are great for two reasons: 1) to explore your interests and figure out what you do or don’t want to do with your life and 2) to gain valuable work experience in your chosen industry.

It’s not your classes that are going to land you a job after college, it’s your work experiences and your connections. Make your time count.

3. Get to know your professors

This is so important.

Your professors are here to help you, but not just with your classes. They have invaluable experience and they know a lot of people. There’s a lot they can do for you if you build a good relationship with them and work hard in their classes.

I’ve had professors reach out to me about various opportunities in the sport industry, help me with my resume and cover letters, and recommend me for potential jobs.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to make a key connection.

4. Develop an organizational system

Find a way to keep track of your school work, your extracurricular activities, your job and/or internship, and your personal life. This can mean using a planner, Google Calendar, the notes app on your phone, or basically whatever works best for you.

Everyone’s different, so the same system won’t work for everyone.

Personally, I currently use a bullet journal to keep track of personal tasks like laundry, meal planning, cleaning, my job search, and so on, as well as tasks for my internship with Girls on the Run of Eastern Iowa. I use a monthly/weekly planner to keep track of when I have homework or need to study. I use Google Calendar to keep track of where I need to be at all hours of the day, or if I have any scheduled phone calls. Lastly, I use the notes app on my phone for random notes to myself while I’m on the go.

In a future post, I’ll talk more about what I do to stay organized.

5. Create daily routines

It’s also essential to have structure to your day.

We’re in college, so I know things can get crazy. You don’t always have to follow your routines, but I think it’s good to have them and to at least try to follow them.

I aim to start my morning and end my night the same way every day. Going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time, and doing the same tasks to either get myself in the right mindset for the day (listen to a podcast, etc.) or to relax before bed (read a book, etc.).

6. Join student organizations

The best way to meet people is to get involved.

There are hundreds of clubs for you to choose from at the University of Iowa, so find the ones that interest you and join them.

It’s also a good way to explore your interests. College is about finding what you love to do.

7. Register for classes as soon as you can

Every semester, you get assigned an early registration time for the next semester’s classes. The more semester hours you have completed, the earlier the time and day you get assigned. As a senior, I’ll probably be enrolling in spring semester courses on the first day of the two-week early registration window.

While you don’t have to enroll in your courses right when it opens for you, you might end up on the waitlist for some classes if you wait too long.

No matter when you’re scheduled to register, it’s a good idea to have mock schedules created and saved using the Schedule Builder tool on MyUI. It makes the process of enrolling in your courses easy once your registration time comes.

8. Explore campus and the community

Don’t just hang out in your dorm or apartment all day.

Iowa’s campus is beautiful. Iowa City is beautiful. But they will never feel like home if you don’t give them a chance. It also feels good to know where places are.

I failed to immerse myself in the community during my freshman year, opting to hang out in my dorm room and watch Netflix instead. Living in an apartment last year and this year, and having to walk through downtown to get home, has really helped me branch out.

9. Get out of your comfort zone

Again, this is something I have continually struggled with throughout my life. I have definitely gotten better at it, but I’m nowhere near where I want to be.

I still have a lot of fears that I’m afraid to face that stop me from taking chances and living the life I want to live.

But college is the best time to try new things and show personal growth, so it’s important to take advantage of this time.

10. Remember that you’re an adult now

Act like it. Be professional. Learn how to do your taxes. Follow a budget. Start saving money (if you can).

Or whatever it is that adults do.



Thank you for reading! Be sure to keep an eye out for my next post. If you want to see more of my daily life as a Hawkeye, feel free to follow me on social media. Go Hawks!

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