1. In my senior year, I chose to work on a project for Engineering Open House. This one extracurricular activity was critical, because it attracted the attention of a very small, very technical start-up company with only 6 employees. After college, they hired me as employee 7.
2. Choosing to work for this very small company rather than a Fortune 500 company. At very small companies (less than 20 employees), new graduates get exposed to much more responsibility, and a breadth of functions, than at a large company.