It’s often thought that graduation is the end of your education, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it might be better said that graduation is just the beginning. Your education shouldn’t stop when you graduate, even though it will look a lot different.
There are forces in the world that guarantee that you’ll need to keep learning throughout your life, and here are just a few.
If you are still in school you’re probably not fully aware of the extent to which technology has changed in a relatively short amount of time. For example, 30 years ago there was no Internet. And would not have mattered anyway because the average person couldn’t afford (or maintain) the typical computer that existed at that time. 40 years ago only the very wealthy owned cell phones – now everyone has at least one.Investment in technology has brought about massive changes both in how we work and how we live. It will require ongoing education just to keep up.
The pace of the business world
Business has had to both create and absorb all that technology, and that has brought about incredible change in the process. In addition, greater competition from foreign sources has completely changed the way most business organizations operate.
This has required an entirely different way of thinking, as well as the adopting of new ways of doing business – some starting out as merely theories. We should fully expect this to continue in the foreseeable future.
It wasn’t all that long ago that North America was not only the center of the world’s production, but it provided the highest quality goods. That is no longer the case, as growth in specialization has now spread throughout the world.
Companies are not only facing competition from foreign sources, but they are increasingly cooperating to find solutions and new products. This can require hands-on training, such as learning a new language, or studying business practices in foreign countries.
Social and political changes
Socially, the world doesn’t look at all the way did just a generation ago. And as political change typically follows social change, we are now dealing with a body of laws that reflects a more diverse society with different attitudes and expectations from the past.
From a business perspective, that means you will no longer be selling your products and services to John Q. Consumer, but to diverse submarkets that often requires a unique approach. This requires both a greater understanding and people handling skills.
Your education will look a lot different and be more targeted
Graduation may mean the end of your formal education, but education and training will continue throughout your life. It will look different, be less formal, and will usually be more specific. Here are some changes you should expect to adapt to when you’ve completed your university education:
Always be curious. Curiosity makes learning easier. And just being curious can also put you on the cutting-edge of new developments. You should want to learn what is going on, and how best to take advantage of it. This can involve self-study, or even very informal study, such as digging deeper into those areas where you have the greatest interest. By doing this, you increase your specialization, and as a result, you increase your value to your employer.
Learning on the job. A university education is something of a standard package. You will have your base of liberal arts courses, as well as study in your specific major. But this is basically raw education. Once you begin your first job, you will begin learning skills that are unique to your industry and to your employer. On the job is usually the best – and often the only– way to learn. You should be prepared to embrace this, and to continue learning through your career.
Take courses where necessary. Never be entirely sure that your classroom education will end after graduation. Sometimes there is no substitute for going back into a classroom and having some form of formal training. Again, you should be ready to do this throughout your career. Everything is changing, and you need to expand your knowledge base in response.
Get a new degree if necessary. There are various reasons why you might need to return to university to get another degree. Sometimes you need an advanced degree in order to be promoted on your job. Other times, you need an entirely new degree to begin a new career. Still other times, you might want an additional degree to broaden your career base and give you a advantage over the competition.
Be ready to roll with the punches. No matter what, you should always be prepared to roll the punches were education is concerned. In today’s world, you’ll need to increase your education – formal or informal – just to keep up with all the changes that have become a routine part of everyday life.
Never assume that you learned all that you needed to in school. Your university education is just the beginning of a learning process that will last the rest of your life.