Disclaimer: I do NOT regret going to college. I learned a ton, met incredible people, and had epic experiences. However, it’s becoming more and more clear that college isn’t the only source of education. Far from it. To be a doctor or a lawyer, yes, college the requisite stop.
But even in these fields, college doesn’t equip you with everything you need to succeed Two years removed from college, what follows are 7 lessons I learned outside of a college classroom.
Number One: How to Close a Business Deal. Nowhere did a professor share with me the art of closing down a deal! Nor did I realize how important this little skill is. Until I finished college, that is…
Upon entering the “real world,” I quickly realized how important closing down a deal truly is. I realized my ineptitude through a painful set of lessons. Multiple times, I naively flopped at the chance to secure business! Business that would have served all parties involved in a positive way. Oh the misery! I’ve since invested in upgrading my skills in this area in a big way! You’ll likely want to do the same.
Number Two: How to Get a Date. Getting a date and learning to create a desirable dating life was never on the menu of available classes! If it were, I’d have enrolled. Dating is another area where you’ll be required to learn outside of the realms of college (the classroom, that is).
How to Get a Date is funny following number one, “How to Close a Deal.” I don’t categorize them the same – and in my opinion, neither should you. I help guys in their dating lives professionally and see this “close a deal” mindset stifle the connection between guy and girl often.
Whereas number one is professional, a logical agreement that serves both parties, getting a date is about connection and rapport. Getting a date isn’t so much “getting,” as it should be about sharing. Sharing in the desire to continue an awesome experience with one another.
Number Three: How to Present to an Audience. I’ll give college some credit here: there were communications classes available. In fact, I took one such class and I even learned a few things. However, with a classroom of 100+ students, speaking opportunities were nonexistent. My speaking skills stayed the same and my desire to improve them remained dim.
Only once I saw the value in public speaking in the real world did my focus zoom onto the art and skill of presenting. Toastmasters enrollment promptly ensued. This, along with countless hours of youtube videos, where I analyzed the nuanced skills of elite speakers, had a positive effect. Speaking skills, I learned, are learnable! But only to s/he who desires such growth.
Number Four: How to Find a Mentor. In college, finding a mentor meant being the student who went to office hours at the posted times. Finding a mentor was a simple as “Go to Classroom E-145 between 2 to 3PM.” Find the class, find the time, and boom, now you have a mentor, just waiting for you. Well, that was in college. The world outside of college is different.
The CEO, wealthy investor, or mega successful person in your field doesn’t have “posted office hours,” and even if he did, they’d surely change before the set time! Getting a high end mentor, I learned, is a balancing act of persistence, offering something of value, and luck, among other things. I’m still fully enrolled in mastering this “life course,” if it isn’t apparent already… Richard Branson! I’m onto you, buddy!
Number Five: How to Network. Ah yes, the task of connecting with likeminded people so that both of you may prosper. Similarly, college never dove into this thing called networking. Like most of the things I’ve learned outside of college, networking is a balancing act. Talk too much about yourself and your egotistical. But if you neglect discussing yourself all together, not only do you miss out, but the other person misses out on what you have to offer!
Networking, both online and in person, is a skill that is always changing. With new platforms emerging and the world becoming increasingly international, this is a class that would need yearly revisions if it were taught in college.
Number Six: How to Think on the Fly. Tests that require you to fill in a bubble do not force you to maximize your “improv” muscles! As you know, the world outside college isn’t a fill in the blank test. It’s a world of constant change.
Every moment is impromptu. You must be able to think – and adapt – on the fly. From a tame conversation to your dream job interview of a lifetime, the ability to think on the fly is essential. Yet it’s hardly cultivated inside the classroom. The occasional oral examination is the exception. However, every moment of life is an “oral examination.” Oral exams should be the norm, not the exception. The world beyond the classroom has versed far more in building this skill-set of thinking on the fly than university ever did.
Number Seven: How to Find Your Purpose. College certainly opened my eyes up to new fields of study. This was mind opening and life altering. However, what you should do with all this incoming information was not discussed – in college. Yes, they recommended career paths. But never was one’s “higher-purpose” discussed.
Only after realizing I was direction-less did I ask myself the question that led me towards my life’s purpose… “If I could get paid to do something I enjoyed that equally made a big, positive impact, what would that be?” I kept asking myself that question. With persistence, it led me down a path I’m grateful I stumbled upon.
Needless to say, this question did not come from a classroom. However, had there been a “Life’s Purpose 101” class in school, I would never have asked myself such a question! For that, I thank you, college!
Those are the seven lessons I never learned in college. Are there any lessons you learned outside of college that weren’t mentioned here? Share them below.
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