In my last blog, we touched on gratitude and the importance of fostering the connections we make while in school. This idea, seeing connections, cannot be understated. The human brain is powerful in large part because of its ability to see and make connections—be it people, patterns, or thoughts. And while I’d love to toot my own horn about how great the benefits of connection and appreciation are (and they are), I have to counter myself a bit. While humans have always been drawn to the predictive power of familiarity, it is not necessarily to our benefit. We can become entrenched in familiar ways of thinking and acting that do nothing to enrich us. In fact, in evolutionary terms, variation is the goal. I would argue, that while networking helps you find a job, embracing diversification will bring you the greatest success in college and your career.
Many of us will stagnate and become dissatisfied when courses begin to rehash the same tired theories we have been covering since freshman year. We are complex, thinking beings. Robots are made for repetition, not us. While there is a benefit to looking at theories from different angles, there is a balance between reviewing ideas and beating a dead horse. If all of your courses are in the same discipline, you will begin to get tunnel vision or worse, tune out to the lessons. So, rather than sign up for one more “easy A,” why not push yourself to try a new type of class. Maybe biology, computer science, or philosophy? They will give you a view of the world that could open a whole new way of seeing things.
Tip: Find ways to think about your course work from outside their home academic fields. How does human evolution relate to user experience? What about ethics and business communications? These new neural pathways will make your brain more elastic, agile, and creative .
Careers are no longer a straight climb up a ladder. Today, versatility and multi-faceted skill sets are in demand. And that is not a bad thing. The truth is, very few jobs will fulfill your head, heart and stomach. And those jobs that fill you with love, often don’t fill your fridge. As more and more people realize this fact, the popularity and acceptance of modular careers will continue to increase. Use your time in college to gain some transferable skills by broadening your academic focus.
If you end up with a career path that jumps around, you will be glad of your diverse coursework. You will have gained knowledge and skill in areas that will become relevant in financial ways. Having a diverse course load will make you a more complete, interesting person. Don’t sell your time in school short by going only for those courses that are required for your degree. If you don’t take the time to explore now, you may never get the chance again.