Graduating from college was one of the most liberating, exciting and yet disappointing times in my life.
Before I go any further, let me set the record straight. I’m glad that I never took a “victory lap” or changed my major so that I could have graduated with a minor, or something more “marketable” under my belt; but I do look back on some things with a the classic, “I would have done this…”
For those of you who knew me back in High School, the fact that I graduated from a great college, and even managed to pull off a couple of above 3.5 GPA semesters seems unbelievable
, and to me, it has been my greatest accomplishment. However, no matter how well I did at times, a lot of things seemed to pass me by.
Studying for a seriously long period of time, or focusing 100% of my attention on school was never my thing. I enjoyed learning, and but I really enjoyed the little things. Philosophy of Death and Dying was probably my favorite class, even though I was a Communications major. Business Management was my choice elective of my senior year instead of a graphic design class, which probably would have made me a better candidate for jobs in the real world.
Where am I going with this?
Don’t be like me…..
Actually, I mean be MORE like me.
College is the time to dive into new courses and learn new things, and there is no other facet of the world that is going to allow you to do that and support you in those endeavours at the same time. College is a safe place for exploration. I encourage all those that are going into their junior and senior year of college, or even their sophomore year, to live more outside of your major. Explore things that you never found interesting before. Take classes that you are bad at. You can never succeed at something unless you try it, and in my mind, you can’t fail trying something out of your comfort zone.
How does this translate into real world experience? More than you would have ever hoped.
My first job out of college had to working in retail, and soon after, retail management. what exactly did this have to do with my choice in college courses? I soon found myself putting the random classes that I took over my previous four years to more use than I had my major. I was doing more managing, and less marketing, balancing financials and trying to hire new people more than marketing my company. I spent more time talking with clients about philosophy than I ever did communication theory, and I was proud of that.
People in the real world don’t always embrace the cookie cutter person you became through your college career, but those cool tokens of knowledge are what can make you stand out in a crowd. Do you want to be the doctor who only took science classes, or do you want to be able to talk about the history of the symphony at your next local dinner party? Do you want to send all of your time mastering social media, or be able to explain the history of technological advances to the new people who you are training?
The best gains that you will experience in real life occur at the transitions that you make in college. Every time that you take on a new challenge and succeed, you will be better suited for taking risks in the work place.
I hope all of you decide to take up a challenge next semester or simply try something new. Those “blow-off” classes are not always the easiest, and most of them will teach you something new about yourself.
Good luck in the future, and continue on full steam ahead.