Don’t just focus on studying

By admin
Category: Personal | Date: Tue 25 Nov, 2008

Ali’s note: I’m delighted to present a guest post today, from Jeremy Day of Insight Writer (RSS feed). He’s a great guy, and I’m not just saying that because he was the first blogger ever to ask me for an interview 😉 … Without further ado, I’ll let you get on with reading his article!

If you are like most students you know that sometimes it is very easy to not do what you are supposed to be doing at university or college. Everything is a distraction from your studies. You have friends that want to party, family that wants you to come home and visit. Clubs, work, and every other extracurricular activity under the sun. How are you ever supposed to concentrate on what is most important. Your studies?

This may be shocking to hear, but your studies may not be the most important thing for you to focus on. Let me explain. As someone who has already graduated with an undergraduate degree and has just graduated with a master’s degree, my studies have not been the most important thing to my career.

Granted, some studies such as medical studies really require you to know your stuff. However, a lot of what you learn in the real world is on the job. Getting good grades is not the end all be all of your education. After all my time in school, here are what I consider to be the keys to graduating well.

  1. Be there to learn, not just to get good grades. This is a great time of your life where you don’t need to worry so much about anything besides learning. Just because you can pass a test or write a paper and get an A, doesn’t mean you are necessarily learning anything useful.
  2. Learn what you are passionate about. One of my friends in college started out as an information systems major. He liked it, but wasn’t passionate about it. He was getting a lot of bad grades in his classes. A couple of us who were close friends of his convinced him to change his major to graphic arts. We knew he was passionate about it, but he had other things holding him up from making that decision. It took him an extra year to graduate, but he finally made the change. His grades were a whole lot better and he is now a successful web designer and graphic artist. It pays to pursue your passion.
  3. Make lots of friends. We all hate to admit it, but oftentimes, its not what you know, it is who you know. Networking is in and you never know who you will meet and how you can help each other get ahead in life. So take time out to meet people who have similar interests as you.
  4. Look toward your future. Sometimes it is easy to lose focus when you are bogged down by studying, paper deadlines, and everything else that takes up your time in school. Don’t forget to think about your future when you get out. It is kind of scary to know how many people get close to graduation and have no idea what they are going to do after they graduate. It is like they forgot to plan ahead. Don’t let the same thing happen to you.
  5. Participate in extracurricular activities. Get away from your studies every once in awhile. Play some team sports. Join a club. Write for the newspaper. Gain some leadership experience. Employers look at these as an important part of who you are. You may even bond with a hiring manager if you did similar things in school. Practice being a well rounded individual.
  6. Get to know your professors. This was a huge one for me. I got to know my professors well enough that they were willing to write references for me to get a job, and to get in grad school. Professors aren’t there to make your life miserable. They are there to help you learn, grow, and get better at your ultimate vocation. Don’t underestimate the power they have to help you along your way.
  7. Gain relevant job experience. This is the bridge that helps you in going from school to career. Do a co-op or an internship. Work part-time in your field. Turn down jobs not related to your field. Get to know potential employers. This will help you out immensely.
  8. Graduating well means a whole lot more than having a perfect GPA. It means getting to know both your field, and people that can help you in your field better. It means networking the best you can. It means being well rounded. It means being knowledgeable and having practical experience. Most importantly, it is about being prepared for the future.

Remember the end goal of graduating well. It is getting into a career that you love. I hope these key steps will help you in achieving your dream career!

Jeremy writes about personal development @ his blog Insight Writer. If you found his article useful, please consider subscribing to his RSS feed. Thanks!

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