Skills learned in college invaluable in workplace

September 25, 2015 Commentary, Editorials Print Print
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editorialIf you Google “20 college life lessons,” you’ll find an array of articles that attempt to warn you about the lessons you should or will learn while attending college. Many habits we learn in college will carry through to our careers and personal lives.

Darla Kilhoffer

Darla Kilhoffer

While it is possible simply to go to class and turn in homework now and then as we float through college, I would argue that by not fully committing to academic excellence, we are robbing ourselves of our money’s worth of education.

Forbes.com published a list of the top 10 skills employers want in college graduates. Among them were the ability to work on a team, obtain and process information, and to communicate verbally with people inside and outside an organization.

Employers are seeking people who know how to research and communicate effectively as well as those who can work on a team without losing their temper.

This is something of a comfort. It means all those general education courses do make a difference.

Suddenly all those hours of researching and writing papers doesn’t seem pointless. Also, mastering public speaking and presentations will be helpful if we learn to do them correctly before entering the workforce.

All the class group projects truly are preparing us to work on a team toward a common goal. Learning to work with people of different backgrounds, beliefs and personalities is a skill we underestimate but that employers value.

Employers also want workers who can plan, organize and prioritize work.

Learning to meet deadlines in college will prepare you for the workforce, where there is much less mercy for missed deadlines. When you get that diploma and begin work in your respective field, you will still have deadlines to meet.

Though it’s something we disregard, managing a budget also is critical for everyone to learn by the time they graduate.

Assuming you will be making more money with a college degree than you make at your current job, you will have more money to manage.

You will have more responsibilities you may not be paying for right now, such as health insurance, a phone bill and WiFi. If we learn to manage the small amount of cash we have now, it will be an easier to transition when we graduate to a higher-paying job.

As students, we often balance school, a job, family, friends and perhaps some community commitments.

When we move from student to career, those sections don’t change — they simply become shuffled in the priority list. Balancing those areas of our lives helps us become well-rounded, efficient individuals.

Finally, learning and adapting must continue. We cannot assume that because we are no longer sitting in a classroom, we no longer have to learn.

The world is constantly changing and we have to keep up if we want to succeed in a competitive workplace.

Learning all these things now rather than later makes us more competitive in the workforce and gets us a step ahead of the game.

I think it’s time we stop coasting through college and start striving for excellence in every field. The sooner we learn to meet those deadlines, communicate effectively, and prioritize our lives, the more success we will have in our careers and our personal lives.

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