When individuals first enroll in college or university, it is a whirlwind of excitement, chaos, and uncertainty. The next three to four (if not more) years of one’s life are dictated largely by their dedication and ongoing efforts in their academic successes. Especially when one moves away from home to go to the school they want to go to, balancing everything can be one giant learning curve. Students not only have to maintain their studies, but many of them work as well, because the truth is that modern life (yes, even for students) is too expensive not to be working. It is a tough road to navigate, even to walk sometimes. The single best piece of advice that any higher education student will ever get is to treat their higher education experience like a course in itself.
Forging Lifelong Learning and Networks
Of course, the primary goal of higher education is to forge students into professional experts in their field, but more than that, higher education itself serves as the ultimate course. In what, you ask? Life after graduation, of course. The thing about college and/or university is that the students that make it through the rounds successfully are often the very same individuals who have no idea what their next step is after graduation. There is not necessarily anything wrong with this. What is important, however, is that students are made aware that they can – and should – use their time at college or university to build connections and begin to establish a reputation in their field.
Networking in university is much easier than when you have entered the workforce as people are generally more receptive towards students – relating to when they were once a student themselves. Doors open more readily and opportunities arise out of simple conversations. Every new contact which is added to one’s address book, brings with him a library of information, knowledge and experience. Take advantage of this. Getting to know the industry and its players as best you can, from all walks of life. As the saying goes: Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.
Furthermore, there is a slew of community clubs one can benefit from whilst in university: getting involved in cardinal service will not only build one’s repertoire and resume, it will also let you meet like minded people and build connections. From ladies in engineering to accessible education, there are over 600 student clubs at Stanford University that one may take advantage of. Even when you’ve graduated, you are also welcome to make use of the many alumni clubs out there and work them to your advantage.
Attaining Financial Independence
When it comes to the difficulties of savings, being a student can be an incredible way to adapt to the learning curve. Financial stability and security is something that is often difficult for many people to achieve, but it does not have to be. Being a student allows for the chance to study and work at the same time, effectively turning individuals into more driven, more responsible people. Students can save money while achieving independence, both skills that are especially handy after graduation. The reality is that students are often so busy, or so stretched for both money and time, that they are forced into a state of financial accountability. This is nothing but a good thing. Learned and practiced responsibility in all areas of life better prepares students for life in their fields come graduation.
A Final Note
Through financial accountability and academic responsibility, students who take both aspects of life in higher education seriously most often end up in the most advantageous of positions when it is time for them to pursue their careers. Through networking, financial independence, and academic success, students go on to become more well-rounded individuals. The single best piece of advice that anyone will give you as a student is to approach college or university as if it were a course in the evolution of life. In doing this, not only will students gain a stronger understanding of their own capabilities, but they will forge a substantial knowledge of how to navigate the next step in their lives – their career.