It goes without saying that higher education is both challenging and rewarding. Due to the demanding nature of higher education (or any branch of education, for that matter) it should come as no surprise that you will face your challenges along the way to graduation. This is the way of the modern landscape of education; in fact, it has always been the way it works. And while everyone you know will likely have pieces of sage advice for you to listen to, most of it will come from a good place, but be no less laced in narratives that might have little to nothing to do with you and your circumstances. In short, it can be a challenge to separate the important pieces of advice from the noise. So, what are the three most important and valuable pieces of advice you will get as a higher education student?
Your years at university serve as the foundations of your career
Sure, university is all about arming you with skills and talents that allow you to broaden your academic and intellectual horizons, but it is about so much more than that. If you do not take the career trajectory after you graduate that allows you to use the information you have learnt during university as a student, you at least have gained some life experience and new skills to carry with you through life. Best case scenario, after you graduate you move into a career field that loves you the opportunity to use the skills and talents you have acquired and fine-tuned throughout your years as a university student. If this is the case for you, these formative higher education years will serve as the foundations of your career – to use them wisely.
Use your university years to practice the art of networking
As a student, it goes without saying that you are a busy person. The demands of studying are often met with the expectation that you spend most of – if not all – your spare time studying. Of course, studying is important, and you should spend some of your spare time studying, but you should also make the time to network. Networking is often a skill that is taken for granted, and fresh graduates often find it difficult to network once they reach the field and have to start interviewing for jobs (believe it or not, job interviews are very similar to networking events, under the surface) if they do not go out of their way to network as students. Networking is a fantastic lesson in confidence. So, go to networking events, faculty dinners, and industry seminars in the area to practice and polish your networking skills.
Remember to take time out for yourself
This should be obvious, but it is surprisingly easy to forget nonetheless. Make sure that you mark out time for yourself. Yes, your education is important, but your health and well-being is more so. So, make sure that you adhere to a balance in your student life. Whether your time to yourself is spent enjoying a hobby of yours (think artwork, a sport, building objects, or even online betting), or spending time with those you love the most, down time is important. Without it, it is difficult to recharge and replenish. Remember, your health and well-being is more important than anything else, so invest in that just as much, if not more, than studying.