BY KYE-SUK JANG
Are you in college wondering what’s in store for you after college? Do you get unsettling thoughts about your future? This article aims to address your situation by suggesting a few great and fun courses to help you secure your future. Depending on your interests, you can take some of these courses, but we strongly recommend you take all three courses in order to prepare yourself after college.
With burgeoning student loans and fervent desire to earn fat pay-checks, students often opt for college courses which provide stable and high-paying jobs. While this kind of thinking is definitely the safest and the most diplomatic way to approach your career, it would be foolish to be purely limited to your specialized stream of study.
Opting for courses that are distinct from your majors can sometimes have a dramatic impact on your career graph. The best story to illustrate this theory is the tale of Rev. Robert Palladino. He was a simple Trappist monk but whose influence on the world of technology cannot be disputed. He taught calligraphy at Reed College, Oregon, a course which was taken up by none other than Steve Jobs. Jobs, later admitted that the fonts and designs he learnt in this class were cardinal to the beautiful typography developed for the Mac. While it is understandable that not all success stories will follow a similar curve, adding on your existing knowledge can get you higher returns than what you could imagine.
The spectrum of subjects that universities and colleges offer seems vast and overwhelming. With daunting STEM subjects at one end and intellectually-enriching psychology courses at the other, choosing college courses is a challenging task. It is impossible to analyze which course might end up accelerating your career graph. But going by the norms dictating our society, technology and economy, the following three courses are going to add much sought-after value to your college degree:
The wise words of John Donne, “No man is an island”, hold greater relevance today than they did way back in the 1500s. In today’s context, it implies that you cannot survive in any sphere of work without communicating with others. Business and professional communication forms the backbone of every industry and economy. From writing your resume to giving your product’s keynote speech, effective communication skill requirements are embedded in every strata of work life. Studies reveal that a whopping 73.4% of employers expect good writing skills from employees. This is because clear writing is often considered a manifestation of clear thinking.
Most college students confuse professional writing with literature lessons. There is a clear distinction between quoting Shakespeare and writing ad-jingles to sell aerated drinks. All these diverse requirements can be met by taking college courses pertaining to communication. Within this realm is also included the method of conquering the biggest fear human beings have. Not death, but of public speaking. College students who take up public speaking classes witness an increased level of confidence and critical thinking abilities. There are resources on the internet like daily writing tips that can help you with most types of writing.
Additionally, soft skills training programs, which cover the areas of communication, team-work, problem-solving etc, teach valuable lessons in maintaining good interpersonal relationships on the professional front. 93% of employers scrutinize employees for these soft skills during recruitment. Another entity gaining massive popularity is learning a foreign language. Even if you are not attracted exotic cultures or fancy sounding like a foreigner, learning an additional language will always help you break the cultural barriers. People who know more languages are seen as resources who can be sent for meeting up with international clients. These simple skills can increase your chances of landing your dream job, with the added advantages over your competitors.
There are several free as well as paid platforms that can help you with learning a language. There are websites like Duolingo, Babbel, and Native Monks that provide an online platform that connects tutor of all languages with students who are learning those languages. The website has teachers from the most common English tutors to tutors for unique languages.
And no, it doesn’t necessarily mean becoming a website designer or an ace coder or a to join Google or Microsoft. It means having basic technical knowledge about computers, because it is more of a mandate and less of an option in today’s digital age. Many students, especially the ones pursuing non-technical fields such as Literature or History may feel that coding and programming and all that jazz should be reserved for hard-core computer geeks. But in reality, every student, irrespective of his/her major, should have a working knowledge of computers, including one coding software and one design software.
While the concepts of C++ or Java programming might not be directly applicable to all streams of life, they definitely help you become more logical and systematic in your thinking. They also help one develop lateral thinking skills and finding creative solutions to problems. On the other hand, the ubiquities of design software have made it imperative for non-programmers to gain a considerable technical knowledge. Every profession today requires one to sit in front of a computer at least for part of the day. Hence, understanding the basics of how these softwares operate is important, so that even non-techies can blend in technology and business processes to reap the maximum profit. Be it as simple as running your own blog or advertising your brand on social media, the knowledge of computers is indispensible.
- Personal Finance
A whopping 83% of teenagers lack basic money management skills. 87% of the same population is virtually clueless about personal finances. According to a 2014 report, $1.2 trillion dollars is the number that represents the total student loan in the USA alone.
What these statistics are pointing out is the fact that we need to educate our youth about how to manage personal finances. It is imperative to keep a check on where each dollar is spent and what kind of different investment options one has. The sad state of affairs is that our educational institutions don’t give financial literacy its due attention. Managing money is better started early for you to get a grasp of it. Personal finance courses in college aim to educate students about mortgages, cash flow and budgeting, how to invest in stock markets, how to file your taxes, and retirement plans.
How you manage personal finances is going to decide every major decision of your life. Your plans to study further, buying a house or a car, settling down – all these depend on how financially stable and capable you are. Individuals who are inept at managing their money often have to take up jobs just for the pay-check. Finance pundits often relate economy downturns to poor investment choices made by general public. Needless to say, it is one of the most important and relevant lessons an adult will ever learn.
Kye-Suk-Jang is an educator and an avid reader. She advises students on a variety of areas including Education, Career, and Personal Finance. She likes to write for College Puzzle and believes in Project Based Learning. She is working towards reshaping education for the betterment of students and to create future leaders.