The jump from high school to further education can feel like sticking your face in a big ol’ tub of freezing water. Even after a short time, it’s made very clear that you’re going to need a very different set of skills than the ones you already have. A little while longer and it becomes more clear what use these skills have in later life. Here are just a few things I’m learning I will need beyond school.
The ability to perform under stress
Stress should never be someone’s default setting. We want to avoid stress. However, life doesn’t always make that possible. We get deadlines to deal with on top of managing lives that can get hectic outside of work. That’s why it’s important to know how to deal with those stressful situations. To take a step back and prioritize. To put the work in when it matters and plan out how you do it. Also, that it’s important to occasionally take a step away and have a break now and then.
Learning new skills
It might seem like a bit of a cop-out answer. You’re in college to learn more, of course new skills are important. But I’m talking about skills not directly related to that career or passion you have in mind. Skills that can accentuate you not only as a prospective employee but a more functional person. I’m talking about skills like selling yourself, good business practice and using a computer. Taking courses outside of your main career path, like Training Connection courses. Not forgetting things like taxes and managing money that some students don’t pick up at all. Being more independent means being able to do more stuff yourself.
Working with others
Raise your hand if you hate joint projects. I’m going to imagine a lot of you at least mentally raised your hand. It’s not very surprising. You can get stuck with some bad groups. All the same, the lesson is there for you to learn. It’s about taking responsibility in a team and collaborating with others. Putting your skills and knowledge together with different people to solve a problem or strive towards a common goal. It’s easy to see why that’s important in later life.
Part of being a good team worker, or a good person in general, is learning communication. This isn’t just dotting your I’s and crossing your t’s. It’s what makes the essence of good communication. It’s developing a shared perspective with someone else by understanding their position as well as yours. It’s being able to listen so you can better understand that position. It’s not about passing messages along a one-way channel. That’s why you spend so long giving presentations. Not just to demonstrate your knowledge of a subject. It’s to help you know how to better demonstrate anything, too.
School’s an invaluable experience. Not just because it helps you specialize yourself towards that dream career. It has some practical lessons that plenty tend to miss when they go bright-eyed into the world. Make sure you don’t miss them too.