College is all about studying and learning advanced theories, right? Well yes… but actually NO! Shutting yourself in a study room at the library for 4 years would be an unfortunate tragedy; there is so much more to do and learn during your college years. Recreation, networking, and (finally) learning to wash your own clothes should all be on the list of things to do. Below are three professional things that I learned maybe a little late outside of books, lectures, and notes. Better too late than never, but take heed! Your future job is coming!!
1. Lions, Tigers, Professors and Phone Calls; Oh my!
I tiptoed through college with my head down, trying to pass my classes and draw very little attention to myself. My shyness also caused me to have an aversion to taking initiative in order to set up meetings with professors, ask questions, and make phone calls. Upon graduation, when I took my first job, I was mortified to realize that contacting professionals through meetings, questions, and phone calls was expected on a daily basis. While I was bolting out of every class literally quite like a 3rd-grader released for recess, I was missing many opportunities to hone skills in professional communication. Use your time in college to develop these skills because the learning grounds of a college campus are much more forgiving than trial-by-fire ‘on the job’ training.
2. Take the Free Food AND the Free Advice
Pizza motivated me to go to a lot of events; however, after I scored a few free slices and skateboarded away, the event purpose was lost on me. Talk to a professional? Internship opportunities? Resume building opportunities? “No thanks,” I said. “I’ll take my pizza, and be on my way!” I eventually learned that I needed that information that was hiding beyond the pepperoni and grease topped invitation. These opportunities outside the classroom are extremely useful for networking, building professional skills, and creating opportunities for your future. So, don’t just slip in, snag some slices, and slide back out the door. Talk to someone, even if just one person to start!
3. Grades Do(n’t) Matter?
I spent my college years getting ‘the grade’ and not much else. My GPA may have been acceptable, but I began to realize that I was missing very important skills as I worked toward graduation (remember the whole phone thing). There is much more to college than sharpening your testing ability. You cannot squeak by on grades forever. Upperclassmen courses often don’t even have tests! A company will one day pay you good money to develop innovative ways to better their organization, and you are going to need a whole lot more than past report cards with more A’s than an Oakland ball club. What you learn up to college graduation is all you have to bring to your first day of work, so learn as much as you can… in and out of the the classroom.