While in school, it is easy to do one of two things. 1) Get tired of school because all you can think about is starting your career, or the next step in your education (going to College, starting your Masters, etc.). OR 2) Hesitate when starting your career because you aren’t sure what you want to do yet, or you want to avoid the unknowns (what if I don’t get a job!?). Both are common, but both are dangerous, and can easily frustrate you. Gaining an education is a valuable step for many careers and for a number of reasons. But unless you focus on living in the moment, capitalizing on the moment, and maximizing your time while at school, you will prove the people right who say an education is worthless these days.
Education is important, and there are more careers than not where the education and experience is irreplaceable before starting in the field. Know that. Not everyone will be able to skip school and still be successful in the career field they want. If you end up going the route around school, it will most likely be accompanied by a change of career.
There are many students who have gone through the College experience the right way, and focused on their classes while they had them, and found ways to start preparing for their career by maximizing their experience in school. Here are three effective strategies that many have used, and if you implement you will also see success.
Connect Today to Tomorrow
Successful students know what it will take to be successful in their career, and they seek to learn those skills now. You don’t have to wait to start developing skills for your career until after you graduate. That is what average does. Average students will use College to party, the Successful use the time to prepare. You can find skills you can develop now by making a list of what you know successful people already in your field do well. What makes them successful? Write that list of the skills and knowledge that you want to have. Now make a separate list of the current skills or knowledge you are learning in your classes, student-leadership position, or other involvement you have. Cross check the list! Always seek to pursue opportunities where at least one or two of your classes each semester are directly tied to your career. When you are working at your job, intentionally remind yourself that the project you are working on or the skills you are learning have ties to your career. If you don’t have any connections you can make, seek different opportunities that will.
Not all skills you want to develop will be gained in class alone. If you only go to class, you will come out with valuable knowledge, but if you seek to get involved with outside of class organizations, you will be able to start working on the skills needed. Student-Leadership positions are amazing ways to do this, that develop a variety of leadership skills in each. You can find a job at a business that is in your career field, or similar. Be around other like minded people, or people already doing what you want to, and you will find yourself moving that direction quicker than if you were doing it alone.
Don’t Slow Down
Success loves speed. As you get more involved, you might here Professors, roommates, Advisors, parents, siblings, or random people you meet telling you to slow down, ease up, and enjoy the moment. High achievers are enjoying every moment because they know it is benefiting their tomorrow, no matter how busy they are. Continually make connections with your career, find the groups of people you can be around who are like-minded or already doing what you want to do and stay at it. Find study-groups who have high expectations. You don’t have to study as a group to be a study group, a helpful strategy will be to simply get a group together where you all study together and hold each other accountable to navigate distractions and stay focused. Don’t listen to what people say, but you can listen to what people do. You can learn something from everyone, most of the time it will be what not to do because of their example. Don’t slow down.
Work hard. Stay focused. Be in the moment. You have the potential to graduate with not only your degree, but a high level of skill and leadership that will catapult your career. You can stand head and shoulders above so many others if you simply rise above the average while in College. Yes, you will make sacrifices along the way. Yes, it will be worth it. Nix Your Limits, start today.