College

What do you need to stop wasting your time on?

What do you need to stop wasting your time on?

I absolutely loved this article. I think its incredibly true to life, and points 20-25 hit me right close to home.

And while I think that one could go on forever, there’s one thing that at least for college students I believe is an important thing to stop wasting time on: 

Stop trying to get everything ‘right’: Unfortunately, you won’t get everything right. Whether it’s the right answer, the right question, the right idea, it happens. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to get things right at all, but change your approach from getting things right to understanding instead. What is it that you understand now? If you ask people why they want the right answer – most of us will chalk it up to grades. But at some point your experience won’t be measured in grades or quantitative evaluations, so focus on your internal progress, not getting the right answer.

So, what you think are big time wasters?

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After College: 24 Things You Need To Know Before Turning 24

After College: 24 Things You Need To Know Before Turning 24

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of anything related to your 20’s, as I’ve written a whole post about positive things that 20 years old can do in the past. But I came across this post from After College a few days ago, and I just had to share it. Anyone in their 20’s should definitely check this out, as it’s a great guideline for how being in your 20’s is truly a case a trial-and-error for most of us. 

College, Interning, and the Abundance Mentality

Recently I’ve been rereading (more like completely finishing) Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It’s an incredibly amazing book and it seems to change my perspective on life every time I read it. So in case you couldn’t tell, I would wholeheartedly recommend purchasing it.

I just finished looking over Habit #4 of the public victory mentality, which deals with thinking “Win/Win or No Deal” meaning that we must use strength and empathy to come up with a decision that benefits all parties involved. If we can’t, then we will walk away from the situation entirely.

As someone who is almost ready to leave college and has mixed feelings on the institution and my time there, I wonder how much of the educational system is built upon the Abundance Mentality versus the Scarcity Mentality. To clarify, the AM is a worldview that promotes the ideas of partnership and opportunities out there for everyone. The SM focuses on the ‘there’s not enough out there for everyone’ idea, and that there are always winners and losers. One of the examples Mr. Covey gives is that only so many people can be ‘A’ students (p.219, paperback edition).

But when I thought about it, even though he uses that as a negative point, that’s relatively true in higher education. Many institutions promote the scarcity mentality, and say that there’s not enough X to go around. Whether its grades, awards, accolades, etc. there’s a distinction between the best, and every one else. To a certain extent, I don’t believe that is a bad thing. Everyone cannot get A’s in a course realistically, and many don’t do the work that merits it. Still, the education system as it is promotes antagonism and the Win/Lose mentality, and with the amount of debt college grads are piling up, its becoming increasingly hard to say whether the educational system is even worth it.

In my opinion, this is where interning comes in. I don’t really think that the Scarcity Mentality of education will ever go away, but instead of focusing on the flaws in education we can move into other situations that will serve us much longer. Interning is a great way to show how to work for yourself and your boss. You’re in a lower position (and hopefully practicing humility as well) which means that you might feel the need to go into lose/win positions, or get goaded into doing something you are uncomfortable with to appease your boss. In this situation, I really support focusing on Win/Win or No Deal, and calmly, effectively, and thoughtfully explaining to your boss what you thought your defined roles were, your goals, and what you believe their aims for you are.

This probably comes off as another one of those “college isn’t everything” posts – probably because it is – but I believe that the skills of Win/Win and the Abundance Mentality are applicable no matter what stage of life you’re in.

Cover of "The 7 Habits of Highly Effectiv...

Cover of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Creating the College Experience

If there was one thing that I wished my guidance counselors would have told my 17-year old high school graduate self, it’s the importance of making your own path in college. I naturally assumed that picking the ‘perfect’ college would magically grant that experience. Sadly, it didn’t. I later found the experience I wanted, but there was a lot of trial and error getting there. Regardless of your college situation, you can shape it into path that you want. Here are a few tips and situations to get you started:

College Relationships are Dramatic, and That’s Good. 

Fostering relationships is work, and at some points you may need to work at it as hard as your academics. Most will tell you that academics always come first and I definitely agree with that. But the truth is for many of us, college is one’s first extended time away from family and friends who are situationally close both emotionally and physically. College pretty much puts you at level one, and tells you to build yourself up from the start all over again. And creating connections is essential for dealing with college stress. So talk to people, join clubs, fall in love, and break a heart or two. Don’t let college get too monotonous.

Try Things and Take Risks (In Moderation)

I personally do not believe in the mantra of ‘sign up for everything at the activities fair, and then drop what you don’t like.’ I think a better approach is to start in your comfort zone, and join clubs that relate to things you already love. You’ll meet people with similar interests, and it’ll help you to manage your time initially as you’ll be following a similar schedule as you’re used to. After that, THEN I say take as many risks as you want. Your high school never had a karate club? Sign up for it then. But only after you’re comfortable. There’s a certain awkwardness that always comes with branching out, but once you’ve given yourself time to settle, you’ll feel much more at ease exploring new things.

Say Hi to Professors (Even The Mean Ones)!

If nothing else, this is a must-do (only second to fostering friend relationships). Your professors are a valuable source of information, and if you have absolutely no idea of your future plans, they could also be a source of interesting facts, opportunities, and career advice. Be eager to learn from them both in and out of the classroom.

Get a Job. Your Parents Will Thank Me Later. 

I personally think that some of my greatest experiences at college have been due to my jobs. I absolutely love working, and I discovered my talent for marketing and my love of librarianship through my jobs. And my jobs have helped me to learn how to interact with others and manage large groups, skills that can’t fully be learned in a classroom setting. Even if a job has nothing to do with your future career path, it can definitely get you into the working world mindset.

Overall, be proactive in finding the college experience that suits you best. There’s no one correct path, and many people have taken different avenues to get there. Just try not to spend all of your parents money and have fun with it OK?