By Dr. Terri Simmons
The College life experience will teach you many things like, how to be independent away from home, how to make money stretch or how much of a mistake it is to wash colors with whites. It also can teach you how irritating and annoying people can be in the beginning, but somehow they become your life-long friends. College life doesn’t come from text books or classroom lectures.
Above all college life allows you to define yourself. With the help of independence, your new found freedom, and many “first time experiences” this is where you choose your ideologies and perceptions about the world.
With so many memories and lessons learned, it might be surprising that there are a few things that were missed. Here are 10 life lessons that you won’t learn from years at the learning institution but rather you learn these on the streets of life.
1. Course work and class work are just for the classroom.
Life begins well after school. You are taught that to have a good life you must go to school and get a good education and then get a good job so that you can have a good life. Everything that you learn in life is never from the classroom. Life is made up of hands-on experiences. The more life, the more hands-on, the more experiences. No classroom.
2. In life, respect is earned.
Your supervisor on your job may be younger than you and you must call him “sir”. A college junior may be older than a college senior, yet that elder must respects the rank of that senior. But in real life, respect, no matter the age, rank, or level must be earned. Watch your walk and your talk, there is always someone watching…always.
3. Real development comes when school is done.
You may had been able to dodge developing yourself in college but in real life, you will most certainly come face to face with yourself at some point. It’s up to you to decide what you will do when you meet you. Will you turn and walk away or will you introduce yourself and get to know the person whom you’ve avoided all of your life? The person whom you’ve been portraying is not the real you, but rather who you have wanted people to think you are. If you take the time and go through personal development, you can give yourself and those around you the perfect gift; the real you!
4. Reading people
In college you make friends as often as you change your classes. Some of them you keep in touch with because of the common organizations you were part of while others fade into the background. In real life you have to learn the real motives behind the kind words at the office. You have to develop two sets of eyes and ears to see and don’t see and hear what is actually being said along with what is being said. It’s a skill that is a trial and error of the heart skill. It’s a leather-chest skill. Once you’ve attained that leather-chest, check to see if you are still breathing!
5. Cool and the gang
In college you and your friends can play and fight and argue and come back together and even work cooperatively to get a project done. Go out, forgive and forget and begin again as buddies all over again. In life, people take you at what you say not what you mean. They count it from your heart not from your heat. In college your friends count it from your head not from your heart. College is a time of sheer stupidity. A world epidemic!
6. Rubbing shoulders
In college your world is made up of your college friends but in life you cannot survive without social connection. Whether it be job referrals, real estate referrals, business referrals you need connections which really means you need relationships to get along in life. You may not need the people you meet today but when tomorrow comes along, you will be glad you kept their business card!
7. Wins and losses
You will learn a lot in college except what joy rides to take and how much money to save. Your paycheck will always speak to the next adventure but practicality will also speak. The louder will win and college doesn’t teach you to recognize the voice of either. While you learn to determine who wins, you have to learn to live with who loses.
8. Follow up with action
Romance in college life is all about sweet words but in real life actions speak louder. You are judged by your actions which follows your words. What you might say is good but what you do or didn’t do behind what you said carries a heavier weight. Be a man/woman of your word but follow it with action. That’s the entrance into everything that you do in your life. If you can’t follow up your own words with action, then what do you really have?
9. Mistakes are fine
In college it’s expected of you to ask the same sill question over and over until you get it. But in real life if you ask the same question over and over, even if you didn’t get it, you will be labeled as “slow.” Mistakes serve to teach you what you don’t know and it’s fine to make a mistake just as long as it’s a new one each time you make one!
10. You will never arrive.
In grade school, you wanted to get good grades. When you got to high school you wanted to be popular. Once you reached college, you wanted to be famous. When you got your job, your next aim was to get a promotion. After being promoted you wanted extra vacation days to spend with family, and so on. Life moves on and on and every moment you have new expectations and aspirations. Be grateful for every step and don’t miss the sun. If you are so busy reaching for the next level you will miss the little joys. Keep moving forward, smile and know that you will never arrive at a destination. You are forever on a journey.