By Marissa Bell

Let’s face it, being a freshman is hard. After 4 years, you’re once again at the bottom of the barrel, you don’t know where you’re going, and you occasionally, and accidentally, throw your keys into the lake and have to go in to retrieve them (or maybe that’s just me). And we can all admit it: being on your own for the first time is quite possibly the most exciting experience of your adult life thus far. It’s easy to sit back and say, “Hey, I’m just a freshman; I’ve got all the time in the world, I don’t have to worry about jobs until at least junior year. And besides, where would I even start?” But it’s important to not let yourself think that way. There is always something that can be done, and it’s never too early to start.

So that’s where I come in. As a freshmen working amongst the exponentially more put together upperclassmen at the Toppel Career Center, I’ve been thrown into the world of how to better prepare yourself for life after college before I was even ready to start thinking about it. And after working here for a semester, I’m realizing that it was one of the best things that could have happened to me. I’ve had the special privilege of working alongside people who have taken pity of my frazzled freshman self and taught me things that some people don’t start doing until second semester senior year. First bit of advice: Do not start second semester senior year, it is a recipe for disaster and sadness. It seems only fair to pass the knowledge on to my peers to try to avoid said disaster and sadness.

The scariest thing you can do is look at the picture as a whole right now because, quite frankly, it’s overwhelming, and as freshmen, we have an excuse to admit openly that we have absolutely no idea what we want to do with our lives. So to try to figure it out, and to transition smoothly into calm and prepared upperclassmen, over the course of the semester, you can read here for simple tips to achieve just that. Here we go:

Official Tip #1: Create a Resume.

First thing anyone says is, “But I don’t have any experience, what would I put on there?” As a freshman, it’s OK to have things from high school, to put that you were a babysitter or a life guard, or to mention that you were president of the school Ecology Club. While it might seem embarrassing now, the important thing is to beef up your resume so you can get more professional experience to eliminate those high school bullet points.

Easiest way to make one of these? Come into Toppel and get one of our resume guides or click here to download from our website. All you have to do is pick a format you like, and then put your information in. It’s better to put as much as you can think of and then edit down later.

Once you have your resume rough draft, you can come to the career center Monday through Thursday 10:00-4:30, and we’ll help you edit it, no appointment necessary. The reason writing a resume needs to be your first step is because once you have a resume online at our website,, you can apply to internships, part time and full time jobs, get 250 business cards for only 10 dollars (which, let me tell you, make you feel pretty awesome), and so many other things.

So, there’s the first official Toppel Tip, stay tuned to find out more ways that you can become a prepared and put together freshman!