Post #7 What are you Getting out of your Education?

More to Education Than Studying

What are you gaining from your engineering education other than your degree?  No doubt, earning a degree is a fantastic goal.  I will discuss goals next week because it is a powerful topic that deserves its own space.  Have you thought about what else you are doing with your life other than studying?  Have you thought about how your actions may (or may not) be preparing you for your next phase of your life?

Your answer to today’s question is going to look very different for each of you.  Do not attempt to compare yourself to anyone else.  There is no right or wrong answer.  You are all in different mental conditions, you all bring different experiences, and each of you will gain your own personal perspectives.

Some of you are laser focused on your courses and you tend to tune out the environment around you.  Your preference is to opt out of participating in anything that might distract from your education.  On the other hand, some of you will engage in extracurriculars a little too much.  You may find you are over socializing and wanting to participate in everything at the expense of your grades.  Each of you fall somewhere between the extremes of seclusion and association.

What Else Could you be Learning?

Your education is one element of a much larger piece of the big picture.  Learning how to study, how to obtain good grades and how to work with classmates is only part of the equation.  I talked about learning in Post #6 because it is distinguishable from earning a degree.  For example, there is a plethora of skills you could also be learning in conjunction with studying.  I will name a few here to scratch the surface: learn how to deal with a variety of personalities, learn how to manage your emotions, learn how to ask for help, learn how to be uncomfortable (get out of your zone), learn how to fail, learn how to be true to who you are.

Take advantage of the resources around you to learn life skills.  Get to know your peers, your professors, your department or anyone who has knowledge to offer.  Try to volunteer or participate in an extracurricular activity other than engineering.  Explore books, music, theatre or sports.  Join a travel, hiking or foreign language group.  In other words, do not isolate yourself so much that you end up missing out on fantastic opportunities that can last a lifetime.

You will get out of your collegiate career what you put in: garbage in truly does equal garbage out.  If you exist strictly to earn good grades and receive a diploma, you are selling yourself short.  Rather, make it a personal goal to strike a balance between schoolwork and non-engineering activities.  Remember, you are at college to prepare yourself for the next phase of your life.  A superb GPA alone will not be enough to groom you for the variety of life’s challenges that lie ahead.

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