College May Feel Like Everything, But Is a Stepping Stone

April 8th, 2019

BY ANTON LUCANUS

 As a higher education student, you get a lot of advice over the years. It often feels like it is coming at a million miles a minute, especially when you already have impending due dates for assessment and study sessions for upcoming exams coming out of your ears. The advice can be broad, or it can be specific. Sometimes it doesn’t matter if you are studying to become a doctor, a writer or a diesel mechanic…the advice all sounds the same. “Keep your head down”. “Plan your study sessions out a week ahead”. “Schedule time out for yourself too”. And sometimes, the advice is more specified towards specific areas of study and/or career interest.

The best advice for college students is to treat it as the transient stage that it is

There is an abundance of advice out there. But, the best piece of advice you will ever get as a student, is to treat college or university for what it is. Take it seriously of course, but university does not last forever, and in the grand scheme of things it is but (arguably the most important) a stepping stone on the path to your career after graduation. Your years at college or university will be paved with challenges and victories, and it is important to take the time to celebrate or learn from them, and then prepare for the next boatload of assessment. And then, one day, there is no more assessment to be completed. You are done with higher education. And graduation comes. And this is when a lot of students feel lost, dazed, confused. But this is also where life really begins.

Take your studies seriously, but don’t lose sight of what comes after

Of course, you should be giving your assessments your all, every single time. That is a given. Do your best, and you will reap the rewards. But getting too lost in university or college assessment pieces and leaving little to no room for other aspects of life can prove to be risky. During your time as a student, make sure that you are doing real experience as well as your written work – even (and especially) if that means stepping out of the classroom or the campus entirely to do so. When you graduate, top marks are obviously a stand out, but more than that, potential employers will value your determination and grit. These traits determine whether you will be the first choice as an intern in an influential firm in your field, whether it be a digital marketing agency or a legal practice. Potential employers all look for the same qualities of initiative and dedication.

Prepare your life for going beyond the campus

When you have experience in your field that delves outside the traditional classroom experience of college or university, you set yourself apart from other applicants, you have an edge that cannot be paralleled. This is why students are encouraged to apply for internships as this will give them practical experience in the industry of their choosing. Internships apply to every profession. Even if you’re not qualified to work as a professional just yet, think outside the box. For example, if your ambition is to become a cosmetic dentist, apply for a pre-dental shadowing program. Even if a student decides to take on a part time job instead which is unrelated to their field, it is also a learning experience as the student will be able to learn life skills such as time management, stress management and have a taste of what it means to be a functioning adult with responsibilities. For example, becoming a  is very tough.  “Being a doctor is about more than med knowledge, it is also about heart”. “Fixing an automatic vehicle is a little different to fixing a manual…but not all that much, once you get used to it”.

Even though your studies are immensely important, it is also important to make time for real-time experience when and if possible. Lastly, it does not do to forget to make time for yourself, too. These are the most intense years of your youth – make sure that you take care of yourself first and foremost. It is probably a good idea to schedule free time or join a fitness program simply so you have time for yourself to unwind and stay in a positive headspace.

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 guide current students to achieve personal and academic goals

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