By Alyssa Willis
Although college is definitely a time to make new friends and explore a new level of independence, I believe it is also a time to seriously consider what type of career path you wish to take. This period of time gives students the opportunity to develop the skills that are required as a future professional. Currently as an undergraduate, I have seen the value that professionalism has in my success both at school and the potential it has for my future. In my freshman and sophomore year, my professionalism started with the appropriate form of email communication with professors, including a detailed subject along with a respectful greeting and salutation. When asking someone for help, especially someone in an authority role such as a professor, it is imperative to thank him or her for any assistance given. These little gestures went a long way for me. Also, being fully present in class by participating and putting the smart phone away lets your professor know that you are giving one hundred percent attention and effort.
I definitely feel that these small but important actions helped me tremendously. A particular professor that I had my freshman year approached me at the end of the semester to discuss starting up and representing an organization on campus that would also be associated with a nationally recognized organization. Montclair Student Council on Family Relations, MSCFR, has been one of my greatest accomplishments as an undergraduate.
The opportunity to pursue my passion of giving back and working with families in need has given me the opportunity to motivate other undergraduates and to continue expanding my skills in professionalism. I continue to write thoughtful emails but I have also broadened my horizons by hosting my own meetings and talking to other highly respected professionals in the field.
Professionalism consists of a wide array of abilities and skills. As someone who is excited to join the “working world,” I believe I have been utilizing my time as an undergraduate to the best of my abilities by going outside of my comfort zone and learning that being professional is an essential and extremely beneficial part of my college career.