If you are currently a college student, or planning on enrolling in the near future, then congratulations, you have taken the first step to leaving the high school you behind and becoming the in-demand specialist you desire. As the common saying goes ‘welcome to the beginning of the rest of your life’.
It is no secret that having solid goals is very important in life, and no matter what field you study or what type of specialist you plan on becoming, chances are that you will be aiming for the top. No one wants to stay at the bottom of the corporate ladder forever. It is very important to realize that college is more than just a time to increase your knowledge and make friends – it is when you need to start really figuring out these goals and putting them into action.
So what should you be doing in college today to become an in-demand specialist tomorrow? There is no magic formula, it really is up to you – but here are some pointers to get you moving in the right direction.
“Throw yourself full throttle in the direction of what consumes your thoughts and ambitions.”
Work out exactly what you want to do
You need to be very clear in your mind what you want to achieve out of college. Simply graduating is not enough – anyone can graduate but it takes someone special to become a specialist in a chosen field. You need to become that special someone.
- Identify exactly what role you want and ensure that you are studying the right courses to achieve them. If you want to become a neurosurgeon, it does not matter how great you are at midwifery – unless you study neuro science it is impossible to become a specialist.
- Ensure that you are comfortable with both the journey and final destination. In order to become a high school principal, chances are you will first need to become a teacher.
- Make sure that you are physically and mentally capable of doing the work. Desire alone often is not enough – Some defence force jobs as an example require a minimum level of fitness, and even things out of your control like your height can put a particular role out of reach.
Recognize that real results only come from real work
In this digital age, there are many ways of successfully getting through college with minimal work. It is hard to browse the internet without having ads for essay writing services pop up. However in order to be a specialist, you need to have the knowledge imbedded inside of you. Exam results may get you a job, but your knowledge and skill base alone will allow you to keep it.
- Complete all assignments and tasks, even if you think they are not important. Chances are the professors have assigned them for a reason.
- Complete the extra credit work and suggested readings. While it is true that in order to pass the courses and exams, the extra work often found at the end of the weekly readings is not mandatory, but again they are there for a reason. This extra knowledge will only ever be an advantage that you have over the others that do the bare minimum.
- Consider work experience in the field you want to work in. Even if it is unpaid, which is likely. Getting your name out in the industry is the best foot in the door for your career, and quite often it is not what you know, but who you know. Network and make contacts and make sure that you work hard and are dedicated.
Look after your body and your mind
Without trying to sound like a parent, the importance of looking after yourself both mentally and physically while at college cannot be stressed enough. Doing all of the assigned and extra reading is only going to be of use if you are able to actually retain and use the information.
- Exercise and nutrition are the key to a healthy mind and body. Stay away from the fad diets and the ten week challenges’. They will take away your focus from what is most important and they generally backfire anyway. Simply make sure you move at least half an hour each day, even if it is just walking, and eat a few reasonably sized balanced meals. You are not wanting to become a fitness model, just be healthy.
- Read things that you enjoy. If all you are reading is textbooks and journal articles, you will begin to start disliking reading, and will find yourself doing it less and less. Take time out to read a crime novel, or a gossip magazine. Let your imagination take over for a change, and give the intellectual part of your brain a rest.
Following these simple steps you will find the right balance of work and rest in your life, manage with stress and succeed. So go ahead and make the right choice!