Susan Shapiro, a writer and adjunct professor at Columbia University, has some advice for those still in college. I agree with her advice, and would add that the overall theme of the advice is: Don't do the minimum. Do your best as a student and as a person.
I will also say that, when it comes to letters of recommendation, these behaviors can make all of the difference. For example, I, too, save the (snail mail) correspondence I have received from students over the years. And whenever I get a request for a letter of recommendation, I thumb through my file to see if the student requesting a letter ever wrote to me...
At any rate, the essence of Susan Shapiro's advice (in hindsight) includes:
This advice works when dealing with bosses and co-workers throughout your career as well.
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