What Your Degree Won’t Tell You
University doesn’t prepare you for every part of life after study. There are plenty of skills, knowledge and traits you’ll need to develop outside of your degree. Just take these ones, for example…
Dealing with rejection and making mistakes
University is a supportive environment. Your tutors and lecturers want you to succeed. People all around you are facing the same battles with that assignment or exam. But dealing with rejections and having the courage to make mistakes and change your mind is crucial to pursuing happiness. Practice doing what scares and excites you, and build up your resilience for when it doesn’t work out. As Sylvia Plath said, “I love my rejection letters; they show me I try.”
Creativity and imagination
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” —Albert Einstein
University can’t teach creativity or imagination, but these abilities will help you to lead others, adapt to change, inspire new ideas, incite passion, take risks, drive change and question the world around you. Basically, developing your creativity and passion can make you and the world better.
Workplace skills & industry knowledge
Experience usually counts more than grades. There are skills that you can only pick up from being in the workplace—from what is appropriate workwear to how to complete tasks that are part of your job. You may be able to pick some skills and industry knowledge through practical elements of your degree, work experience or internships, but that first year will probably be a massive learning curve nonetheless.
How to manage your money
Managing your money is an essential skill, whether you’re a freelancer struggling with cash flow or an employee with a regular paycheck. Spend some time and learn how to budget, save money, maximise your rewards in banking/super, and so on.
Work life balance
You’ve probably spent years working out how to balance study with everything else. Now you’ll have to transition to working life and figuring out how to balance it with friends, family, hobbies and every other part of your life.
Don’t discount luck
Luck plays a role in landing you that dream job. As much as you learn and prepare, there are always going to be people smarter, better qualified or otherwise better suited to a role that you want. There’s luck involved in being the best person that applies for a job, in meeting the right people and in opportunities arising. That said, of course you need to be ready for chances that come your way—if you are lucky enough to get an interview, you won’t get the job unless you’re qualified for the job.