To follow up to the last post on 5 ways to get the most out of university, I’ve compiled another list of 4 more specific things you can do to get more value out of your time at university. Thanks to Will and Nick who commented on the last post with some really good points. These tasks all require a bigger investment of time and effort, but I think there’s the possibility of getting stronger results from applying them
1. Be Critical
Be critical about the education you’re getting at university. Usually when I breakdown what I think’ wrong with the way things are run at my university, there’s always some people who are experiencing the same thing. By identifying the problems, and coming up with ideas for how your university program can be improved, you might find that even some faculty members agree with you and give you the opportunity to do so.
The real benefit of being critical to what your program teaches, is that you start seeing the different limits present. A typical course is only designed to teach 4 months worth of material, and they’re also designed to cater to students who don’t already know that material. The topics that might interest or inspire you might never come up in the classroom. Being critical leads you to look outside the course for material to challenge you and that has more value to you instead.
The earlier you stop relying on the education system and instead develop the attitude to make education your personal responsibility, the sooner you’ll have the ability to judge what is really worth your time.
2. Be Selfish
Doing things for your own personal gain is an idea not many university students are aware of. Going to university itself is an action we take to further ourselves, either by meeting new people, learning more, or in the hopes of getting a better job upon graduation. One of the problems is that there are so many different things to do and to get involved with at university. Without being able to justify the actions you take, and without asking yourself “What’s in it for me?”, you may end up investing time in paths that only impede you from achieving your goals.
3. Run Projects
Whether they are extracurricular, or part of a class, running projects teaches you a lot of important lessons on leadership and responsibility. Learning those particular lessons early, and in a learning environment like university will prepare you to move on to bigger things in the future. Managing a project is a complex task, and mistakes are bound to happen. Take the lead on projects and use the experience as a chance to make the common mistakes early in life.
Running projects involves learning a lot of different skills that you can’t really learn anywhere else as easily. In a sense, practicing project management in university is not just a way to complete projects more effectively, but the steps involved with it give you a chance at improving your understanding of planning, responsibility, goal setting, communication, and people.
4. Be Involved With a Student Group
Being involved with a student group at university gives you a lot of benefits and they have a low barrier to entry. You can either join an existing student group that already has resources you can use to help you develop, or you can go through the process of starting your own group.
If you start your own student group then you have the freedom to create a group based on any niche topic you can think of, and you have the opportunity to shape what the goals of the group are, and who its members will be. A new group seeking new resources is a good opportunity to meet many different members of the university faculty and administration.
Organizing a new group is a long process, and it’s a difficult task to recruit good and motivated people.
What actions have you taken that really benefited you the most in university? Was it joined a club or team? Making connections with your professors or other students? Maybe it was attending some conferences. Let everyone know what’s worked best for you in the comments!