10 Things I Learned Outside the Classroom

Over the course of the four (maybe five) years you will spend in college, you learn more things than you can remember.  While obviously the things you learn inside the classroom are crucial for your future career, you will learn some valuable lessons outside the classroom as well.  Here, in no particular order, are 10 things I learned during college.

#1- Stay Busy

It might sound amazing to sleep until noon, go to a class or two and then lounge around the rest of the day.  It might even be amazing at the time.  A few words of advice: when it comes time to enter the real world, you will be in for a rude awakening.  Keeping yourself busy will lead you to be more motivated and chances are you will be more involved, get more experience and do better in your classes.

#2- Get Involved

You have a good group of friends that you always hang out with and you wouldn’t want it any other way.  Great.  Sooner or later, you are going to get bored and want to branch out, increase your network, and meet new people.  While there is nothing wrong with keeping the same close group of friends all through college, it is very important to meet new people.  By getting involved in things that interest you, you will meet other people with similar interests who can give you advice and guidance and could be a great connection later in life.

#3- Experience Means More than your GPA

As I am finishing up my fourth internship, I can honestly say that I have yet to be asked for my GPA.  Every interview I’ve had, I get asked about my leadership roles in student organizations and my previous experience.  What you can prove you are capable of means so much more than what your classes say you should be able to do.

*It is still important to get good grades, just put what you learn in classes to use!

#4- The Importance of Good Friends

Life is full of ups and downs.  Whether it be a bad grade or a bad break up, it is so important to have those close friends who will be there for you.  Don’t ever let your friends be pushed to the sideline and always make an effort to keep the good friends in your life.

#5- Never Try to be Something You’re Not

Don’t choose a major because you are unsure of what to do, your roommate chose it and it seems cool.  Don’t join a group with a friend just because you are too nervous to join the one you really want by yourself.  Many students are in the same boat as you, unsure, nervous and trying to find themselves.  Figure out what it is you want to do and then do it.  I promise you will be happy you did.

#6- How to Job Search, Be Professional, Network, etc.

Your teachers talk about it, but never truly teach you how to search for jobs, be professional and network.  It may seem pretty self explanatory but so many students leave school unprepared for job interviews and how to professionally present him or her self at networking events.  Take the initiative and go to the career center or reach out to someone in your field to get advice, get your resume reviewed and get prepared.

#7- How to Live in the “Real World”

All those college loans you have, do you know how to consolidate them?  Do you know how to budget so you can afford all the monthly bills?  What about insurance?  Are you aware of what plan you should choose or if you should start saving for retirement?  These may seem like things we don’t need to know right now or things that we will just eventually figure out, but they are important things to know and if you take the time to learn about them now it will be a lot less stressful when you actually have to deal with them.

#8- Appreciate Your Parents

Appreciate the time with your parents and take that extra weekend home because your parents want you to, even if you don’t really want to.  Chances are you won’t be wanted back as a roommate once you graduate and the free food, help with gas and ridiculous number of TV channels will no longer be there for you whenever you want it.

#9- You Truly Never Stop Learning

Take the time to figure out what you want to major in because you will be studying it for the rest of your life.  No, not just working in the field, studying it too.  Things are constantly changing and to keep up with your job you will constantly need to be reading about and following the changes in your chosen field.

#10- You WILL Fail.  Learn from it.

Everyone fails.  There is even a quote that says something like “if you haven’t failed you haven’t tried hard enough”.  Failure is not a bad thing.  It is actually a point when you can step back, see what’s not working, and then learn from it.  Accept this now.

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Laura Szatkowski

Laura Szatkowski

Laura Szatkowski is a senior at Central Michigan University studying public relations and English. Laura enjoys being busy, juggling work and school, and has plans to one day spend her time traveling abroad. When not busy, Laura, the middle child of three girls, enjoys shopping and spending time with her friends and family.
Laura Szatkowski

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