1. “I can wait until senior year to do an internship”
Most employers are looking for more than one internship or relevant experience before you join them in their venture. Waiting until senior year is a three-fold problem.
First, you don’t have enough experience to land a good, highly autonomous internship, so you may find your overall experience is less valuable. Second, you may have just started your internship when you start interviewing for jobs. It’s really hard to answer questions about how you’ve improved processes, learned from failure and made significant gains when you’ve only been there two weeks.
Finally, you’ll be strapped for time. It might seem like a good idea to put off your experiential education until you have a lighter class load and the end is in sight. But when you’re stuck at work when your roommates go to happy hour, you might regret filling your last days of college with work instead.
2. “Networking is for people who don’t have a good resume”
Public service announcement: Networking is for anyone who wants to have a job when they graduate. A good resume listing tons of experience may not be enough. After all, you’ll be competing with hundreds to thousands of other applicants for every position you apply to. A foot in the door can mean the difference between an interview and the automatic “we’re sorry” reply message.
If you’re applying to a company in a unique industry, do some digging to learn about the company mission and culture — browse their live animal trap product lines if you don’t know much about what they’re marketing. This will give you talking points and enough information to appear knowledgeable. Then, take the time to find out the names of people in the company. Find them on LinkedIn, do Tweetups and always send thank you notes. It really is the little things that make you memorable.
3. “I have a ‘hard’ major, so a ‘good’ GPA is relative”
Every person finds different subjects difficult. However, just because you’re majoring in biochemistry or engineering doesn’t mean you get a free pass to C-city. If you’re struggling with your classes, get a tutor, study with your lab partner and go to office hours. Explaining why you have a 2.5 GPA in an interview is awkward, and employers don’t want to hear “it’s a hard major.” They want employees at the top of their field and won’t settle for mediocrity.
4. “We’ll all still be friends after college”
To be completely fair, this one is only a half-lie. Your best friends in college may stay with you forever, or they may not. But it’s much easier to be friends when you share a schedule and live in the same apartment than it is when you work in different states and industries.
If you both put in the time, you can make it work. Good friends are worth the effort and make life after college that much better, but set some realistic expectations. You might not talk every day, and that’s okay. You probably won’t know every detail of their life. Try to catch up via Skype rather than just texting. Meet up half-way between where you both live for a middle-of-nowhere road trip together.
5. “I can say what I want”
This one is as much of a lie as it gets. This goes beyond posting profanities and rants on social media. This covers being out for drinks with friends, at work, out for dinner…you get the point. The harsh truth is you never know who is around and listening when you talk. They may be people you’ll never see again, or they may be your future boss or co-workers.
I was once out for dinner and the president of a company I had interned with walked in and was seated behind me. Fortunately, it was a great experience and we eventually saw each other and exchanged greetings — but imagine how differently that could have gone if I would have said something stupid.
Ultimately, college is a learning process. Work to avoid telling yourself or your friends these lies, and you’ll have more realistic expectations and preparation when you graduate.