Why Students Should Seek the “Other” Education While in School

For those of you in school, you know your classes are important right? If you have questions with that, think about your career goals and how your education will contribute to that. Many career fields have a black and white expectation when it comes to education. You have to have a certain level of education to walk in the door. Yet, with this expectation companies will hire based on academic education level and then evaluate and critique employee performance based on the “other” education.

The “other” education is how to succeed as a leader, work with others, and add value to your role. Academic education fills you with knowledge, but the “other” education is taking that knowledge and applying it to bring results. So if you are expected to focus on academic education to get in the door, but once you get there you are expected to perform based on the “other” education, how do you truly prepare for your career?

I had a Student-Leader position in college called a Resident Director. This meant I ran a Residence Hall of around 350 college students and supervised a team of eight other Student-Leaders called Resident Assistants. I was able to participate in the hiring process for the Resident-Assistants and quickly realized that we were evaluating them based on two main factors. The first factor was academic achievement. We looked at their GPA. The second factor was what type of leader they were-things that are based on the “other” education.

This was the first time it clicked with me, but it isn’t the first time you will see it. Most college admission and scholarship decisions are based on academic achievement and the “other” education.

So it seems to be most successful, you have to do both. While in school, you have to focus on your academic goals and seek to grow as a leader and a person at the same time. Though this can seem overwhelming, it can be done. Those who figure out how see the most results. While you are a student, focus on these keys to successfully learning both “educations” while in school.

KEY 1: BE AWARE

The awareness of this reality is a major key. If you don’t know about the “other” education, then you will never actively seek to learn it. Be aware that when you apply for jobs, they will first seek to check the box of “educated” based on your academic achievement, then will spend the rest of the time evaluating your “other” education. This is fact, don’t ignore it.

KEY 2: GET INVOLVED

If you want to be a great leader, hang out with other leaders. This is very easy to do by involving yourself with organizations and clubs that focus on giving students opportunity to obtain the “other” education. They may not advertise themselves that way, but whenever you see organizations that will say things like: “Be a Leader!” “Achieve More” “Earn a Scholarship” “Be a Part of Something Bigger” then you are on the right track.

KEY 3: CONNECT TODAY TO TOMORROW

As you decide on your career goals, also think what is associated with the title. What skills, habits, and knowledge is directly tied to that career? Find someone operating at a high level in that career and look at how they do what they do. Make a list of what you see is important to succeed in that career and start working on them. Things like communication, organization, and accountability will be important in any career so that would be a good place to start.

You have the opportunity to change your tomorrow, starting today. Not everyone understands this, and even fewer take action. If you start actively seeking to gain the “other” education you will find yourself head and shoulders above the competition. Stop waiting, and start doing.

How do you seek to develop yourself as a student? Comment below!

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