College is in some ways a microcosm of the real world. It is seen as an opportunity to prepare young adults for the real world. For most individuals, college is the stepping stone to their future career and the rest of their life.
Your college experience will certainly come with its own trials and tribulations. These issues help to define your experience as a student. That being said, it is important to realize that some things that are utterly fundamental within the college universe are irrelevant as they relate to the trajectory of your life and career.
1. Your major.
The quintessential conversation opener, the go-to small talk topic and the question you dread when you're undecided.
"What's your major?"
This simple question forms the centre of your universe at college. While your major may be the center of all academic achievements, how will it translate to meaningful employment?
Business degrees remain among the most popular programs for both bachelors and masters degrees for this very reason.
Recent studies have also shown that graduates with a degree significantly out-earn those without. However, the Washington Post reported that only 27% of college graduates end up working in a career directly related to their major.
Engineers, lawyers, doctors etc. are the obvious exception to the rule. So, try not to be disheartened if your passions to do directly relate to paychecks.
What employers want to know is the skills you gained in the process of attaining said degree. The ability to research thoroughly, make deductions and present your findings succinctly in an essay introduction is what will make you a strong candidate.
2. Your GPA.
A GPA is a number that for many students haunts their experience at college. They worry that the C they received in first year biology is going to prevent them from getting a desirable job after college.
The good news is that unless you are applying for graduate school, GPAs cease to exist after college.
Harvard University was recently embroiled in a scandal regarding grade inflation when it was revealed that the median grade awarded is an A.
Universities use GPAs to sell their academic credentials which is why many employers will either disregard your GPA or take it with a pinch of salt.
So, be mindful of your GPA as it relates to your overall degree performance but remember that after college it won't matter as much.
3. Your individualistic approach.
As graduate unemployment levels continue to improve, it is important to understand how to best perform in the workplace. Certain things that can set you apart from the crowd at college may not be the best tactics to employ at the office.
Take extra credit as an example. Becoming an expert in your professor's doctoral thesis may be an excellent way to stand out from your peers at college. However, in the real world this is seen as brown nosing.
Researching a company or boss before you start working is a great way to learn more about the work environment and your role within it but you can take it too far. College study places the emphasis on the individual.
In a traditional work environment, you will need to work with your colleagues not compete against them.
Bloomberg reported casual attitudes and poor multitasking as the main bugbears employers have towards recent college graduates.
At college you may be able to negotiate an extension for your essay or scroll through Instagram during a dull moment in your lecture but this nonchalant attitude will not look good to your employers.
One of the biggest adjustments recent graduates have to make is that they no longer have autonomy over their own schedule. It is important to realize that 9-5 means just that.
An article for the Chronicle of Higher Education stated that '49 percent of employers found a moderate or large gap between employee skill level and performance level'.
What graduates need to realize is that a good work ethic and is just as essential to building your career as expertise in your field. Where college is a land of endless second chances, that same cannot be said for the real world.
4. Your social network.
Social media is a ubiquitous presence within the college sphere. It is how you make friends, coordinate events and keep up with campus life. Outside of college social media still has a presence but in a very different way.
Many graduates forget that future employers may ask to see your social media profiles. It is important that they reflect your character and interests without giving away too many secrets.
Outside of college keeping one's personal life to oneself is an important building block of professionalism. Social networking takes on a whole new meaning when it applies to your colleagues rather than your classmates.