10 Lessons I Learned Throughout My College Career

As college students and recent college grads, it’s only natural to constantly plan and revise the next big steps in life. For some of us, that could be preparing to study abroad, applying to graduate school, finding an internship or landing a full-time job. Whatever it may be, the transition from school to the working world can be a challenge, especially with all the side hustles, responsibilities, and unforeseen events that catch us by surprise.

Throughout these past few years at UC Irvine, I’ve learned a few lessons about the importance of time management, job-preparation and what is known as “essentialism.” Tracing the dots, the only way I could’ve learned these lessons was through experience, whether it was meeting an influential mentor at a career panel, reading a good book, interacting with coworkers or challenging myself in a different academic environment. However, I know that there’s still so much more to learn and so much more to experience. Nevertheless, here are a couple lessons I learned throughout my college career.

1. Stop taking on every role. Instead focus on what is essential to your goals and aspirations.

2. Finding the right path can start by planning forwards or planning backwards.

3. Try to understand what the job recruiter is looking for and see whether your experiences match the qualifications.

4. Your goals and interests change. Always have a back-up plan.

5. College is a time to explore what is unknown. Step out of your comfort zone and try to understand the world from a different perspective, whether that’s taking a class outside of your major, studying abroad or working with a community of diverse individuals.

6. Your behavior can influence everyone else around you. Try to be mindful of the type of energy you want to exude.

7. There are many ways to learn. Some disciplines require creativity and critical thought, while others require active search and logical thinking. Then there are those that require all the above.

8. You can afford to make mistakes in your early 20’s, so try out difference jobs and take on new risks. You have time to learn and bounce back from these gambles.

9. Never underestimate your potential and the importance of your background. The value you can bring depends on your own creativity, knowledge and expertise in your field.

10. “Devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.” – Tuesdays with Morrie