Get value from college beyond just education

Aside from the education you get from formal college, the experience will also give you practice in networking with people, help you uncover methods for connecting disparate ideas, and put you directly beside perspectives you otherwise may not get such intimate exposure to.

As someone who didn't go to college these are all things I had to develop on my own. College forces them onto you by the nature of how schooling works, but you'll still have to be mindful of how each of these things influences your thinking and behaviors.

4 action items

  • 1. Use it as an opportunity to easily connect with other people

    Consider not only people directly in your field of study, but anyone you may encounter on campus, in lectures, or as part of your larger class. Reach out to anyone you find interesting and get to know what they're learning, what value they get from the college experience, and their history or perspectives.

  • 2. Seek out any new and interesting ideas it presents

    Through online forums related to your college, in-person lectures, or local events, try to find ideas you may not be familiar with. The more diverse ideas you expose yourself to, the more likely you are to learn new things and—more importantly—you'll learn how to think about things outside your immediate experience or perspective.

  • 3. Open yourself to how college brings ideas and people together

    By the nature of college, many different backgrounds, beliefs, perspectives, and ideas will be coming together in a single campus or classroom. That can be intimidating to some, but as a student your goal is to learn and expose yourself to each of these things: . Find ways to embrace the variety of the college campus, classroom, and community.

  • 4. Share your own perspectives and ideas

    Using the network and community of your college to gain insights and perspectives is good, but you should also be contributing to the pool of ideas too. Find ways to connect with others who may be interested in what you have to say: join a club, write blog posts or short novels to share, engage in speaking opportunities, or mingle with fellow students at local hot spots. Be open to new and different ideas or perspectives, but also be willing to share your own too.

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