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College Lessons Learned Outside the Classroom

Sep 22, 2011

The college years have a lot to offer beyond textbooks and studying. The Education Insider takes a look at some of the life lessons we learn as undergraduates.

college life lessons extracurricular

With Freedom Comes Responsibility

Many students go wild when they first show up at college, free from the ever-watchful eyes of their parents. But you'll quickly learn that with newfound independence comes increased responsibility. Whether it's making yourself wake up and get to class on time or skipping that party because you have an important assignment, college will quickly teach you the necessity of balancing freedom with self-control. That skill is essential for achieving personal and professional success while having a little fun.

Organization is Essential

Disorganized students may quickly find themselves missing appointments, turning in assignments late and even failing classes. The organizational skills needed to balance your busy college life will prove invaluable for navigating the post-college world.

Teamwork

Working in groups is an essential part of college that translates directly to the workforce. The most effective members of groups and teams are sensitive towards others' opinions, and they know how to communicate with individuals from all walks of life. Delivering a great product despite any challenges you and your group may encounter is critical for success during and after your college years.

Network With Teachers

Some students don't realize how important it is to build relationships with professors. Many of them serve as chairs and advisors for school clubs or professional associations, and organizational memberships allow you to network during and after college. In addition, you may need recommendation letters from professors when applying for scholarships, jobs or graduate school. Get to know a few professors within your field who can speak highly of your work ethic and character.

Dealing With Debt

Graduating from college without debt is extremely rare. Unless you're one of those unicorns, one of the first skills you'll have to learn is money management. Being responsible for monthly student loan payments forces you to seek out regular income, balance a budget and learn to pay your bills on time. These skills will serve you long after you've paid off your college loans.

It's Not Always Fun and Games

Life is full of boring, difficult tasks that are odious but necessary to achieve your goals, and so is college. Students quickly learn that doing things you don't want to do is an unavoidable part of passing classes, managing dorm life and being a part of many college activities and organizations. Learning to tolerate something unpleasant because it helps you accomplish something interesting or important is a crucial skill for work and life.

Volunteer or Intern

Many students perceive volunteering or interning as free labor. In reality, the experience and skills you stand to gain are extremely valuable. Not only will you learn how to help and impact others in your community, but you'll gain work experience, which you can include on your resume when applying for future jobs.

Having trouble managing your student loans? Don't miss these tips on paying down student debt.

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