As a teenager, you’re often told that school is your raison d’etre, the primary reason for your existence. You’re taught to study hard and get good grades, and the concept of success is often linked to your academic performance. But when you get to university, things can be vastly different. That’s why it’s important to know a few things that can change your experience as a student.
First and foremost, knowledge is not what you’re in university for. It may seem counterintuitive to say this, but it’s true. Universities used to hold the keys to knowledge, but with the advent of the digital age, accessibility to information has become widely available. Instead, universities offer a unique opportunity to learn how to learn, how to reason, analyze, solve problems, and think. By rubbing shoulders with professors who are experts in their subjects, you get a front-row seat into their minds. This is why it’s essential to sit through hours and hours of their lectures, despite the fact that you can obtain most of the information elsewhere.
Another crucial point to note is that your career has already started. It’s a common misconception among students that what they do in university has no bearing on their future. This is a tragic mistake. Your career and future are immensely affected by your actions as a student today. It’s imperative to make use of your time strategically. Look around your classes: your future partner for a great company, your boss, or a key contact may be right in front of you. By understanding that your career has already started, you’ll take your university experience to a whole new level.
One thing that can hold students back is following the crowd. Just because you’re in a “program” doesn’t mean you have to behave like a programmed robot. The road less traveled may seem difficult, but it’s worth it. Take courses regardless of direct relevance to your major. You’ll learn far more valuable things than those who take the congested highways of the program. Be social and join student clubs that share your passion. Be involved in all aspects of university life and cultivate positive friendships. This may take time, but it’s worth the effort.
Engagement is key to preparing yourself for the real world. Most students are on autopilot, focused only on getting good grades and their degree. But by shaking yourself out of this mindset, you’ll be able to meet your professors outside of class, seek career advice, and ask questions. Become an active member in at least one or two student clubs that share your passion or reach out to the community with valuable services. Most people aren’t intentional, but once it becomes a habit, it’s as easy as breathing.
Finally, it’s crucial to pick the right major. Many students have no idea why they’re pursuing a particular major. For instance, a biology student may say that they chose this major because biology is cool and they didn’t do well in math. However, it’s essential to understand the value that this major will provide you in the future. You need to ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. What is a degree in your major worth? What kind of jobs will be available to you, and is this a growing or shrinking market? Do your research, then do even more research. Don’t worry if you’ve already missed the boat in the wrong major – go back and change it.
In conclusion, studying and getting good grades can be essential to success in school, but university is vastly different. By knowing these five key things, students can transform their university experience. By understanding that knowledge is thought, not just memorization, that their career has already started and they need to take their time strategically, that following the crowd isn’t always the best choice, that engagement is key to preparing yourself, and that picking the right major requires research, students can make the most of their university experience.