08/16/2010 01:32 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Tomorrow Starts Today

Welcome to college, now what are your plans for graduate school? Sorry to rein you in so quickly, but as freshman, your tomorrow starts today. Do not misconstrue my words. College is a time for self evaluation, contemplation, and meaningful gesticulation of one's fist at a Thursday night fraternity party.

In this economy the latter might soon have to take a back seat to library research and honing in on exactly what it is you excel at. Some schools set a date, possibly the equivalent of sophomore credits as a time to decide upon one's major. However, some students can go through four years, graduate with a major and still not know what they want to do. You do not want to be in that category.

In this terrible economy it behooves undergraduates to know what they want from the proverbial racer gun. According to US News and World Report, graduate applications have increased in the last couple of years.

Some might attribute this to the dire economy among other things. While a terrible economy might convert graduate schools into safe havens for the weary graduates, it certainly is neither reason nor motivation sufficient for the arduous work consistent with a graduate school degree.

No, rather one has to understand that graduate school is not some outdated last ditch effort to sure up ones academic record. In fact graduate school is a meaningful way to build up leadership skills, hone in on your passions, and stand apart in this increasingly competitive workforce.

Now, in no way should this be viewed as a buttress for becoming a career academic. If that is what you are into, then sure you can have at it. Nevertheless, graduate education much like the undergraduate experience is rife with opportunity. One might contend more so for graduate school.

According to graduate school expounds on the undergraduate experience. Learning how to better research and communicate is at ones behest.

Perhaps you always wanted to study abroad or present your work to colleagues. Let's not even start to consider the amount of networking opportunities that are particularly geared towards ones program. In fact many employers' not only hire students while they are in their respectful programs but also pay for tuition - adios graduate loans. One would suppose the next question would be, how do I decide on what graduate program to enroll into?

Early on in college, students take varying courses, some of which have nothing to do with what they are interested in. Students should however see this as a chance to reach out to professors from different fields and receive consultation on different fields. Most schools have freshmen year counselors that students see no need in consulting - take advantage of those opportunities. Also, talk to your close friends and family. A web search would not hurt either.

Whatever paths you do decide to take understand that the competition is waiting for you. The whistle blows when you step on that campus and open those books. We are facing an ever changing economy and critical times lie ahead. One can rest assured that you will be better prepared and land ahead of the pack if you realize and begin to understand that, tomorrow starts today.