I have to admit (and I am a little embarrassed to say) I like school.
I’m not talking just being there, having a campus to enjoy, and constantly being surrounded by new, fascinating people — I…actually like school. Learning new things, studying, and finding new interests, however minimal and fleeting they might be at times, brings me comfort! Not to mention a greater sense of self and awareness of the world.
That is why going to college was my holy grail, and leaving it has absolutely shocked my system. However, I have said it before and I will say it again, while a traditional education shapes your mind, it’s the things you learn outside of the classroom that really mold you into who you are.
I’m not going to lie, though, I’m disappointed that there are so many things I’ve had to learn on my own. (College, where were you on these?)
Read on for the five things I wish I had learned in the college classrooms:
1. Tiny Major-Specific Tricks
With each passing year, there are new terms and skills and steps that go into the occupations that inspired your majors. And while our professors and programs *usually* do a great job of preparing us, there are always skills that slip through the cracks.
For me, it was learning SEO and CMS(es). These two terms are ones I had heard about and were explained in my entry level classes, but was never taught ‘how to.’ Rather, I learned through my extracurricular work and writing for various sites.
Do your research and keep some good tricks up your sleeve!
2. How to Network
This is HUGE.
And this is one that you really need to make the effort to learn. It’s just not taught, anywhere. While the career development departments at your school can prime you on this, you don’t really know it’s something you need to learn until you’re in the middle of a great networking opportunity.
In college, I was part of an organization that put out networking workshops and connected me with other connected alumni. I highly recommend you see if there are opportunities like this on your campus. Also, be sure to seek out the help of your professors and career development department to learn some of the tips you need to be a networking natural!
3. Knowing When and How to Negotiate Your First Salary
Entering into the working world is a hugely daunting process. From your first application to your first interview, you are faced with many questions about who you are, what you want, and what you need.
In this case, we’re talking about what you need in order to live and survive: money.
The key to negotiating your first salary is to not sell yourself short while simultaneously not reaching too high or seeming cocky. The key? Do your research and learn company salary rates as well as rates for the position you’re applying for.
You are worth the money — and you need it, so don’t be afraid to ask for more.
4. Managing Your Finances and Doing Your Taxes
Being independent means doing things yourself no matter how daunting. And though managing your finances (aka saving money) sounds simple enough, it can easily become a huge shock when your first billing statements begin to roll on in.
To start, sit down with anyone you can — a parent, a mentor, or a financial advisor — and go over everything! Keep records of your spending and your contracts in order to devise a plan of attack that works best for you.
Money makes the world go round, so be smart and don’t be afraid to seek out help!
5. Living An Adult Life
There are too many things to list that you need to learn on the fly by becoming a working adult. And man…adulting is hard!
Take it day by day with a positive attitude, and always be open to learning something new!
I want to hear from you in the comments below!
What’s something you didn’t learn in school you wish you did? What have you had to learn on the fly? Have you sought out help to aid in your adult journey?