Today, on Quora, I found a great question about how to improve ourselves as students.
Question: What can I be doing in my free time to increase my employability and knowledge?
The simple fact that you care enough about your employability and knowledge that you’re willing to spend your free time to improve yourself is already a great sign.
There are 4 things you can do that can dramatically improve your personal, academical and professional value.
A Super Student is someone on a path of self-improvement and with passion for learning and creating. Super Students are leaders, project managers, inspiring team members and passionate innovators. Super Students want to change the world.
Develop a winner’s mindset, balance studies and work with fun and wellness, go outside to network and teamwork, become more productive and fall in love with teaching, innovating and creating.
Make it your mission to wake up as a better student than you were the day before.
Expand your Skills
As regular students, we’re meant to learn facts and how to solve problems (in a certain field). Memorizing, essay writing, solving problem sets and occasionally delivering PowerPoint presentations make up 95% of your assignments.
Formal education leaves out a lot of vital skills to make a killing in the real world. What about networking, public speaking, project management, personal productivity, leadership, innovation, creativity?
A great trick to develop new skills or improve existing ones (almost) effortlessly is to set daily goals or, as I like to call them. If you stick to small unambitious goals that you meet everyday, overtime, they’ll pile up:
- Learn 15-20 words of a foreign language everyday. After 3 months, BAM!, over 1000 words with minimal effort.
- Write 500 words a day (a novel, blog post, Quora answer). 3 months later, you’re 45,000 words smarter. Holy writing skills, Batman!
- Solve 2-3 programming problems a day. You guessed it, 3 months later, you solved over 180 problems just by spending a few minutes on it.
Work on a Big Project
Super Students are always working on something big. Something big enough to train their skills, accomplish ambitious goals and, ultimately, prove their worth and added value to the community (which may be a website, a city, a country or the whole world).
In the long-term, side projects look impressive on your CV. When you’re through with your studies, imagine going to employers and being able to say I learned programming and created this app, I teamed up with some friends and created a small business, I raised thousands of dollars to equip my school’s library. Accomplishing these goals demonstrates initiative, drive, and the ability to deliver on a plan.
A couple of months back, I wrote. In short:
- Know what you like to do and your fields of interest.
- Connect the dots and find interesting ideas of things to work on.
- Plan ahead: assemble a team, gather resources, set deadlines and commit to your vision.
- Execute and document the journey. Take pictures of the process, write short weekly or monthly reports, meet with your team.
- Show off! Share your results with the world.
Grow your Knowledge
I couldn’t agree more with. Reading a lot of books, especially non-fiction, can place you in the top 1% of the population in any field.
I’m a medical student and, of course, I like to read books about my field, e.g. The Checklist Manifesto. Surgery war stories are my favorite kind of Medicine books.
My interests, however, go well beyond Medicine. I love to read books about Business, Entrepreneurship, Investing, Personal Finance, Writing, Idea Generation, … it’s a huge list. My knowledge in these fields, not matter how small, was the seed of countless opportunities in the last few years (startup events, conferences, travelling, projects, networking).
Think about it: there are people in this world who sell their 20, 30, 40 years of experience in their field (and life in general) for 10-20$. Some even do it for free, e.g. I love‘ answers here on Quora. Why not take full advantage of this information?
Aim to read 40-50 books a year. Your life will change completely.