Friday, October 23, 2009

10 Things College Has Taught Grads About Life

9. Writing/Communication

Every single person in every single job needs to have a basic ability to communicate in the written medium. Whether we are engineers, or chemists, or marketing managers, we need to be able to express ourselves cogently on paper. Email has quickly become the medium of choice for corporate correspondence. It is a professional necessity to be able to articulate your objectives in a clear and organized manner. While most of us won’t be writing too many academic treatises out in the Real World – we will be required to write compelling cover letters, resumes, thank you cards, and all of the communications that make up our professional existence. You don’t have to be a wordsmith to be able to hammer out effective written documents. College gave us ample opportunity to practice our messaging, and it’s a fortuitous thing that it did, you’ll be using those writing/communication skills every day.

10. Breaking Up

In many ways, college, like breaking up is about starting over. College is about change, about leaving your comfort zone, exiting the nest, redefining your environment, learning new skills, meeting new people, building new relationships. Breaking up, in college as in life is a catalyst that engenders the novel over the mundane. In both circumstances you will be constantly forced to try new things, to learn new skills, to move to new cities, countries, and towns. Like breaking up with a familiar and comfortable past, it isn’t always easy to do, sometimes it is your choice, your initiative, other times it is not. One day you’ll be typing away at your desk and checking your fantasy football scores and the next you’ll be giving your key card to the HR lady. Sometimes you aren’t that into work and sometimes work is just not that into you, either way, occasional breakups are inevitable.

College teaches us to be adaptable. To rebound quickly on and off the intramural court. College, like breakups remind us that it is perfectly normal to go from we to me, from popular to alone, from expert to novice. When you move away from home you breakup with your childhood. When you graduate, you breakup with the schedules and rhythms of the classroom. Congratulations, you made it to graduation, you don’t know everything yet but you know where to find it and you know that it’s okay to learn as you go. And speaking of starting that entry-level career… have you applied here lately?

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