5 Ways to Get The Most Out of University

In my experience, the best things available to me at university, have nothing to do with the establishment itself. On a regular basis I see too many people putting their faith in the system, and the ones who do that have a hard time understanding the idea of taking their own earning into their own hands. It’s really painful for me to see people waste the opportunities that are available to them. So here are five of the habits I’ve found that give the greatest growth while in a university environment.

1. Read about your industry

The first thing to move away from is assuming that textbooks are the best way to learn. They are good, but when your goal is to teach yourself, there’s no reason not to invest time and money in the best learning methods available. What’s best will be different person to person, but a decent question to ask when searching for resources is “What gives you the most value for the least amount of time?” Being effective in what information you absorb and how is very important, because if you are serious about your field, you should be dedicating time every single day to reading about it.

If you don’t develop an effective method for absorbing information on a day to day basis, you’ll end up wasting time, and retaining knowledge will become much harder.

2. Write about your industry

Writing about what you’ve read is what we’ve all been doing for years in the classroom. The two real differences between doing that and extra curricular writing is that we’ve never had such control over our writing, and we haven’t been representing ourselves through our writing. Having freedom and control is one of my favorite aspects of being a university student. Having the freedom to write about what interests you, and being in control of your own creative outlet is important as whatever you publish becomes part of your personal brand.

There are plenty of articles online explaining why you should have a blog, and starting to do this while in university leads to my next point.

3. Develop Good Habits

The chances are that in university you’ll probably have the most free time now than you’ll ever have until either retirement or unemployment. Take advantage of that before it’s too late. Use your time in university to start practicing new habits and start making them a part of your behavior. University is dynamic enough of an environment that it will give you opportunities to learn all sorts of habits to help you improve your productivity, writing, reading, studying, as well as your interpersonal habits.

4. Teach Other Students

Teach people what you know. A lot like the kind of reflection and organization of information that goes on in your head when preparing to write, teaching people will make new connections in your brain when you tackle the same material from a teachers point of view. Teaching will also garner you respect from other students and faculty. It will help you develop your leadership skills, and it will give you more experience communicating.

There’s only a few things that help out in an interview more than going in and talking about how you have experience teaching to your colleagues or giving public presentations related to your specialty.

5. Surround Yourself With Good People

This point is very simple, it can even be defined as a habit you can practice. Finding people who are curious, intelligent, and who have good ideas is a great thing to do. They are the people you want to spend your time with, the people who push you to better yourself. You may have to go outside the university for this one, but even so, getting to know people who are already in the industry you’re interested in, or even finding a mentor, could be one of the biggest personal development boosts you could come across as a university student.

These are a few of the things that are the easiest for students to start doing to get more value out of their time at university. How do you make the most of your time at university? Are you wondering how you can make these years even more productive to your growth? Let’s discuss it in the comments.

3 thoughts on “5 Ways to Get The Most Out of University

  1. Great advice, university isn’t just about assignments and textbooks! Every point above is definitely a way to get ahead, you could expand this to 10 or 20 points I bet, but keeping it to 5 gets the message across.

    Off the top of my head, some other key points would be:
    Don’t be afraid to ask questions (both in class, and among friends),
    Network with your peers (your classmate might be your future boss, or business partner),
    Join active student groups (both for social skills and experience),
    Ask more questions, (there’s always more),
    and finally…Attend free lectures/seminars on campus (even if they aren’t industry related, might learn something new or meet someone)

    One thing I hate hearing is the phrase “they didn’t teach us that”…nobody teaches you anything, the goal of a student is to “learn” through reading, writing, conversation, practical labs, etc. The scope of learning should not be “what’s on the exam?” – it is up to the student to dig deeper and get the big picture

    Now you need to syndicate this to the my.ryerson feed 😛

  2. Great tips, Malcolm! Did you check out Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”?

    Some of my thoughts would be to perhaps IMMERSE yourself in the industry. What I mean by that is actually meet people who are already in the industry so you can gain an insider’s point of view.

    Additionally, from those contacts that you meet while immersing yourself in industry, perhaps find a mentor who is willing to take you under their wing and have a vested interest in you that you succeed because they saw a bit of yourself as they were starting out.

  3. Nick : You’re right, this list definitely could have been more than 20 points! Narrowing it down was hard!

    Will : The 7 Habits is a book I definitely know about, it’s just on my “to read” list right now. Getting a mentor is maybe one of the best things someone can do as well to develop further, if I get one then that’s something I’ll have some experience to write about…Someday!

    Thanks for the comments!


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