Academic Excellence isn’t Everything: Using College for Growth, not Grades
BY ANTON LUCANUS
Anyone that has been a student at some point in their lives can attest to the fact that it is an experience that is unparalleled by any other. The information that you learn and (hopefully) maintain during your time at college ultimately proves to be the building blocks of your future career path, it is important for you to realise that university is essentially a stepping stone into the trajectory path towards your career. There is a lot of advice that is almost certainly going to come your way from all angles throughout your academic years. However, the single most important piece of advice you will ever get as a student is precisely that: to treat university as the learning curve it is. University will give you the academic tools to move into your desired career path, but it is but it does not provide you with all the experience you need to make it when you reach the point of entering the workforce in your chosen field.C
University and college is an experience that is both challenging and exhilarating. Its unique nature is something that is at once a testament to the power of intellect and the chaos of humanity. For many students, the years spent at university are some of – if not the – most high-pressure years of their entire lives. There is so much that is riding on the successes and failures of the experience, and students are so immersed in it that they often treat their experience as a student as the be all and end all of life as they know it. Now of course dedication is a trait to be admired. But it is also important that students realise that university is not the be all and end all. In fact, university is a stepping stone, a pivotal point in the trajectory towards one’s career. Designed as the biggest and longest learning curve there is, university works so well because it provides students with the knowledge and the basic tools to establish a foothold in their respective industries.
Figuring out how to tap into that potential
Whether that means improving writing skills to help you get through the high-pressure periods in the semester as you work hard on all fronts, or investing in therapy sessions to help you keep calm and sound mentally (or any other manner of coping mechanisms), do them. Because it is always better to take care of yourself, while taking care of your health, than it is to sit in the back of a classroom uninspired, waiting until class ends so you can go the next classroom and do the same, for three years. Great minds are as such because they are driven to succeed, to make a lasting, profound difference. And university is just the first stepping stone – but it is also the biggest. So, make adequate use of your time as a student. Go above and beyond. This is the time for you to show everyone what you are made of. This is the moment in time that shapes other key aspects of professional development. Make sure that you are involved in every aspect of the experience – not just the classes themselves.
The necessity of branching out to reach your full potential
However, more than that, college cannot give students everything they need to succeed professionally. This is the mistake made most often by students. So engrossed in academic excellence, many students make the mistake of giving their entire being to their school work. This becomes a problem because school can only provide you so much. There is a lot of self-imposed work to be done too. When you have time, volunteer or intern at companies that specialise in your professional interests. Whether you’re studying to become a personal injury attorney or a literary professor, this is incredible important. Go out of your way to network, attending events and seminars that can help you establish a rapport and a reputation while you are still a student – this can (and often goes) prove to be priceless. While higher education is one of the most challenging experiences you are ever bound to go through, it is also so important to keep in mind that this unique experience is stressful. So, asking for help when you are struggling is sometimes not only recommended, but necessary, in every sense of the word.
At the end of the day…
College and University is a truly unique experience for any individual who decides to expand their academic and intellectual horizons. And every single student who has been a higher education student knows all too well that there is what seems at times like a limitless influx of advice that is offered from every conceivable angle. While most pieces of advice are helpful in their own way, there are some that stick out more than others, that seem to click for most (if not all) students. And the advice to treat university as the stepping stone into one’s career is perhaps the single best piece of advice that any student can and will ever get. At its core, university of course gives students the knowledge and the tools to begin figuring things out professionally. But students must ultimately do more than simply attend their classes if they want to excel academically and adequately prepare themselves for their future as an industry professional. It is about so much more than classes; it is also about interning, networking, and doing everything you can to not only flourish, but positively thrive.
Byline – Anton Lucanus is the Director of Neliti. During his college years, he maintained a perfect GPA, was published in a top cancer journal, and received many of his country’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarships. Anton writes for The College Puzzle as a means to share the lessons learnt throughout his degree and to guide current students to achieve personal and educational fulfilment during college life.