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You did it. You made the choice to gain the workforce-ready skills that will make you an asset to employers in the medical, information technology, energy, or the many other sectors growing in the Denver metro area and the state. Enrolling in a school with programs that prepare students for what your parents have been calling “the Real World” your whole life is the first and most critical step in creating a fulfilling career for yourself in the future. Finally, after all of the nagging and pressure to gain an opportunity to get a “Real Job” has ceased, the pressure to make the most of your time and money at Pickens Technical College begins. The first piece of advice I can give you to succeed in your studies at PTC (or any educational setting) is to show up to class and do your homework. But you don’t need me to tell you that. What I can give you is three less-obvious tips, and one slightly more obvious tip, to succeed not only at PTC but after you graduate.

Keep Your Eyes on the Future

To get the most out of your time at PTC, you have to focus on your studies while keeping your eyes downfield, to use a football metaphor. You’re not an NFL quarterback trying to throw a Hail Mary, but you should also be looking for opportunities beyond the line of scrimmage, so to speak. It’s important to focus on your short-term goals, from passing a test to learning the basic concepts of nursing, for example, but you also have to keep your long-term goals in mind. If nothing else, sketching out your long-term plans before you start attending classes at PTC is a great way to remind yourself why you chose to attend PTC in the first place. What else can you do to set yourself up for success beyond PTC besides studying hard and preparing for class?

Use the Resources at the PTC Counseling and Advising Department

The last bullet point leads perfectly into this one (see how I did that?). The PTC Counseling and Advising Department is a viable resource for students trying to avoid the pass rush and make a deep throw downfield and get a big gain for their future. Okay, no more football metaphors, I promise. Visit the friendly, professional, licensed school counselors whose sole purpose at PTC is to help students navigate their programs and get on track for professional success after graduation.

Connect With the Community

I shouldn’t have to tell you by now that if you’re attending PTC, you’re entering one of the fastest-growing job markets in the country. There are many companies in the information technology, healthcare, energy industries and more looking for qualified candidates in the Denver Metro Area. My advice to you: take advantage of this hotbed of economic activity while it’s hot. Don’t wait until you have a certificate or a degree to start looking for jobs. The Career Services Department (So useful! See above) is in contact with companies looking for workers at PTC. Get in contact with them to give yourself an inside edge when you graduate.

Use the Student Portal

I mean, come on. This is an obvious resource you can use in your pajamas if you want. The PTC Student Portal is a one-stop store of information where you can check your grades, find important forms, and read materials packed with valuable information. You can even plan your bus commute to and from PTC with the bus schedule in the Student Portal. Chances are if you’re reading this you know about the Student Portal, but stop reading this for a moment and re-check your Portal. You might find some more information you didn’t know was there.

You’re in school. You made it. Now it’s time to make PTC work for you.