Your college experience was likely transformational in some way.
Maybe it changed everything for you. Or perhaps it changed just some things. But it almost certainly changed at least one thing for you for the better.
And probably not in the way you expected.
That’s because the magic of the college experience for you probably wasn’t about the technical knowledge that you gained.
Book learning is nice, but insufficient for success.
The real magic of the experience was probably in the interactions you had with classmates, professors, and others who helped you to grow as a person.
Maybe you overcame some shyness by presenting in class or joining a club. You might have learned the value of networking to land an internship. Perhaps you discovered a new confidence in your capabilities.
Whatever the changes, they almost certainly taught you something and helped you prepare for a brighter future in the “real world.”
That transformation, that maturing, that growth is what college is really all about. Getting ready to meet the new and exciting challenges that lay ahead. To get started on a productive and rewarding career path.
One Transformation Isn’t Enough
With some years now under your belt, you may be well adjusted to the working world. But you shouldn’t be done with transformations.
Sure, they will come with promotions or job changes or new challenges. Those things will be a catalyst for you to transform to some degree.
You may need to learn how to manage people. Or how to manage a budget. Maybe you need to learn how to run a big project, hire people, or manage managers.
Each of those opportunities can lead to further growth. Which sets you up for yet more future success. Because each experience and each new challenge requires you to learn and to adapt.
Sparking New Growth
Here’s the thing, though. That default growth is not enough. You need to do more.
If you want to achieve new levels of success and satisfaction–while greatly expanding your future opportunities–you should be seeking ways to grow all the time. In big ways and in small ways.
Don’t wait for the promotion or job change or big project to come along. Go out and find challenges.
You might be able to find them right in your organization. Or you might need to look outside (professional association, community organization, volunteer opportunities, night school, etc).
But you should find them. And use them to grow.
More book learning would be fine. Enhancing your technical skills is always useful.
Better still, work on some transferrable skills. The so-called “soft skills” that enhance every type of work…public speaking, customer service, writing, leadership, and so on.
You’re Always in College
Learning is a lifelong endeavor.
You might read books, listen to podcasts, and take classes. Maybe you’re in a profession that requires continual education and professional development.
That’s great. But don’t forget about the transformational growth you need to do.
Taking on new challenges. Developing new skills. Trying things that are scary.
That’s how we grew in college. And that’s how we should grow in our careers.