Myth #6

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Myth #6: Learning only happens in the classroom.

Reality - What you learn in college is only the foundation for what you’ll continue to learn in life. The world is evolving faster than ever and your ability to be a lifelong learner will ultimately help you succeed.

When you finally walk across the commencement stage to receive your college diploma, a chapter closes in your life. No longer will you spend late nights cramming in the library or be asked to write term papers on dull and tedious topics. However, the end of your formal education doesn’t coincide with the end of your quest for knowledge.

College serves as the foundation, not the endpoint, of learning throughout your life. The skills gained through jobs, internships, and life experiences while in college and after graduation serve as unique lessons that will help you to develop new skills and grow intellectually.

In-class learning vs. learning through work

An undergraduate education provides only a sample of what a specific career path may look like and the skills necessary to succeed in that position. For example, let’s consider a student majoring in architecture. This student will spend four years learning about the key elements of design, memorizing important facts and figures relating to the history of architecture, and crafting meticulous sketches. However, this student will likely enter the workforce without ever building anything, the core responsibility of an architect.  

The use of theoretical learning in higher education allows students to grasp the main ideas of an industry but fails to show the complex inner workings of an explicit field. Thus, students need to continue to learn and adapt to new work environments long after they receive their diploma.

This view or rather analysis of college contradicts the traditional beliefs of higher education. Many view college as a time and place to find a career path and prepare for it. Although this isn’t incorrect, students no longer graduate with all the essential skills needed to succeed in the workforce.

Our world is evolving faster than ever and a key aspect to a successful career is the ability to constantly look out for new technologies, methods, and practices that will help propel your career forward.

A survey of 400 employers from the Association of American Colleges and Universities reports that 58% of employers believe that college fails to provide students with the necessary skills and knowledge needed to succeed in entry-level positions at their respective companies.

This statistic isn’t intended to discourage anyone or question the importance of attending college, but rather emphasizes the idea that the demands of the workforce are changing and learning shouldn’t be restricted to the classroom.  Instead, students should involve themselves in jobs and activities outside of an academic setting.

Employers looking to fill entry-level positions search for students and recent graduates who have a range of experiences and demonstrate the ability to apply the materials they learned as an undergraduate to the real world. The best way to showcase these talents is through tangible experiences and learning applied projects. This could be a comprehensive research project for an advanced level college course, a collection of writing samples from an internship, or a digital portfolio.

The Association of American Colleges and Universities found that 94% of hiring managers “would be more likely to hire a recent graduate who has held an internship or apprenticeship”.

A potential employer simply wants to know if you have what it takes to step up to the plate and perform at a high level. This can be difficult to determine from a GPA, but physical proof of your abilities give an employer a glimpse into what you can do.

However, as mentioned above, this applies to everyone, not just college students and recent graduates. Even those who stand as the most influential figures in their respective careers continue to learn and strive to gain new knowledge and insights that will further help to advance their company and their personal careers.

Although you may never step foot into a classroom again, the world provides opportunities daily for us to learn new things and expand our outlook on the world. Don’t be afraid to embrace knowledge and use it to better yourself and your career. Become a PathMatch client to learn how you can spend your time building skills and prepping to land internships/jobs.

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