College does an amazing job of teaching you skills for future careers, but I have learned that there are 3 lessons you don’t learn in college. In my short transition from college into the real world, these lessons have accelerated success into my early career. I want to share these 3 essential lessons with you.
1) Learning Never Stops, Study Things You Are Passionate About
I can sincerely say that I have learned more in these past 2 years then I did in my entire 4 years at college. A few things I have learned include how to build an app without knowing how to code, marketing, sales. Why? Because the real world requires you to do one very important thing: Figure it out! Even with a college degree, any job that you start, there is a training period.
When you venture out into the real world, everything is new. Building credit, getting your first job, and so many other experiences. You don’t have answers, you just figure stuff out because you have to.
After you finish your day job, you have time to use however you would like. I implore you to use a good portion of this time towards learning. If you use a portion of this time to constantly learn new skills, you are constantly increasing your value.
I have begin listening to podcasts and audiobooks on various topics that I wanted to learn more about. I would listen to these while working out or going for a run. These extra hours of knowledge a week have helped me develop new skills rapidly and increased my productivity. Using this knowledge I begin to do small experiments to apply what I have learned, which has ultimately helped me get me to a point to where I can monetize these skills.
Challenge yourself to learn something new each month and and make sure you apply this knowledge to refine your skill.
2) Networking without building meaningful relationships does not account for much
How many people in high school did you think that you would be friends with forever? What about college? Take a moment to reflect and think of how many of your closest friends you actually keep in touch with. What happened?
These are your friends and maintaining those relationships are tough enough. As you begin creating more relationships throughout your life, it is crucial that you put in the effort to maintain and grow those existing relationships. People will get you much further in life faster than you will alone.
While in college, I gave a TedTalk and one of my talking points was about building relationships and surrounding yourself with people who push you to be your best. I genuinely believe in giving others value without expecting anything in return. This mindset has helped me establish great connections that have opened doors of opportunity that I would have never had. The jobs that I were able to get post college were largely do to the connections that I made while in college.
Last year in January, I went through every contact in my phone and made a spreadsheet of their names. I made an effort to contact each one of those people by the end of the year and document what we talked about. It worked great because the next time we spoke, I referred to my notes and it was like never missed a beat.
Make sure you are taking the time to continue to build new relationships while maintaining and growing the ones you have already made.
3)You learn skills through application, not memorization
Our school systems have conditioned us to think very linear. A teacher gives an assignment for a test, you study for it, then you are tested on how much you can remember. Standardized tests have conditioned us to memorize, not to think. This has taught us how to work within frameworks, but now how to think outside of them.
Most of friends and colleagues have told me that they were taught most of what they were going to do for their job post-college while they were at their job. Most of what they had learned in college did not necessarily apply. This is not to say college is not important, rather you truly learn a skill by applying it on a consistent basis. You can study ideals and philosophy’s in school on how to apply certain skills, but you do not develop that skill until you put it into application.
As you start developing your skills, having the ability to think critically and create solutions to problems will make you a valuable asset to others. There are multiple everyday scenarios that occur that do not have clear answers. The people that get the promotions and new business opportunities the quickest are those that can work within a company’s framework but can also think outside of the box on how to increase either the company’s productivity or their own.
I have learned that a major goal people should aspire to have is to not get paid for what they do, but for what they know.
Get Yourself on the Right Track!
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