While you are immersed in your studies, working away at that degree that you hope to earn, that will be your ticket to the job you one day hope to have, you should also focus on getting more out of your university experience than just a career.
It’s certainly not that a career is unimportant – it’s no doubt the primary reason to obtain a degree in the first place. But there’s so much more that you can get out of your university experience, that will not only help you land a job, but also to advance your career later on, and possibly even to move into self-employment.
While you are studying and living the university life, consider trying to get the most out of at least some of the soft benefits that are available to you.
Making valuable contacts
You may not see this right now, but you are in the process of making important contacts that can benefit you later in life. You probably have friends at school who are involved in different majors than the one you have. They can become valuable career contacts later in life. This will be particularly true when you are looking for resources beyond your immediate career.
Related: Using LinkedIn For Networking
Do your best to become friends with people in other major fields of study, and be sure to keep in contact with them after graduation. You never know when you might need each other.
University life is chaotic. It’s not just the many course requirements, each with its own nuances. It’s also that you are often flying by the seat of your pants, in terms of schedule and lifestyle. Though you may not be entirely aware of it right now, the skills that you are developing to help you cope with that chaos will help you later in life.
Real life seldom moves in straight lines or logical patterns. But to a greater degree than you may be aware, your university experience is preparing you for precisely that kind of life. In some way, shape or form, you are finding yourself developing your ability to make order out of chaos – and that’s what discipline is all about.
Ability to follow instructions
Hopefully, you don’t think that you will be “free” once you get out of school. You will have different superiors, organizational restrictions, and various assignments. In order to find your way through it all, you have to have the ability to follow instructions. And that’s exactly what you are doing right now.
On campus, you’re often facing several challenges at once. While there may be people available who can help you with any one issue, handling all at the same time is largely a solo effort. As stressful as it seems, it is also helping you to develop self-reliance. You’re forced to come up with various solutions to deal with your multiple challenges.
That is a skill that is separate and apart from an education. It is also one of the best forms of training for the business world and for real-life. Embrace it, as it is one of the most valuable tools you are now acquiring.
Working through problems
Some of the problems you are now facing are even more complex than you may be aware. For example, you may be dealing with scheduling conflicts, social issues, and course difficulties all the same time. As you are, you are developing that juggling act ability that is so critical throughout the rest of your life.
Finding your way around the world wide web
In your off hours, you may be spending a lot of time on the social media. And you are doubtlessly using the web for homework and research. While you may be thinking of this as being incidental to your education, in truth it is training for the rest of your life and especially business.
The more comfortable you are with the Internet, and the more that you come to rely on it, the better you will also become at using it. This will be an asset for the rest of your life. Your ability to find what you need and make important contacts through the web will be an important part of your business life, and give you the upper hand in more situations than you can now imagine. Millions of people still lack that ability, and that will give you an advantage.
Ability to learn what you don’t know
An inherent part of a university education is that you are literally being bombarded with new information and concepts all the time. The barrage is a necessary part of your education, but it is also preparing you to be an information sponge for the rest of your life.
You are learning that the answer is out there somewhere, and you’re learning where to find it. That is a critical part of your learning, and the ability to master it will be in direct proportion to the success that you will achieve later on.
Working with people from different backgrounds
It’s not just the world’s economies that are going global – it’s also the citizens of the world. Business is no longer being transacted strictly between organizations within one country. It is now taking place across the entire world, as if borders no longer exist.
Your interactions with people from different countries and cultures will serve you well as you enter the business world, and often particularly if your ultimate destination is self-employment. You’re learning to breach cultural walls, and that is absolutely essential in today’s business world.
Concentrate on your course work naturally, but don’t overlook the secondary resources and training that you’re getting along the way. It’s not just an education, it’s also a wide set of skills that might even be more important than the education itself.
Have you ever thought about the skills and experiences that you’re gaining in school, including some of the above?