I wonder what it feels like to graduate these days. The number of people finishing university with shiny new degrees versus the number of decent jobs going is, well depressing to say the least. At least, for those who are unlucky enough not to have a job.
But, there is light at the end of the tunnel. All the way through university students have a lot of reading, coursework and exams to smash through. But, they also have a lot of free time on their hands. What I wish I’d done, and admire others that have done it or are doing it, is to embark on internships and gain skills that are in need.
Being able to do this efficiently requires one thing that most students don’t have – a clear idea of what they really want to do for a career. Some have faint aspirations, but really knowing what they want to do is extremely powerful and provides direction. They are able (with determination, of course) to acquire the skills that their ideal job requires, like being an expert on Photoshop or FinalCut Pro, or having three month’s experience at a Fashion PR agency under their belt.
I live with a guy who is studying web development at the moment, and he doesn’t really attend his classes at university at all. You might say: “Typical student, he probably won’t even pass his first year”. That doesn’t apply to this guy. Ever since MySpace burst onto to web all those years ago, he got involved in website coding – and at that time pretty much everything on Myspace was coded in CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). Today, he has his own web development and site hosting business, is regularly securing well paid contracts, and has a summer job at a HR company’s IT department. This is an example of the kind of student I wish I’d been.
I’ve got a great job at the moment and it pays reasonably well, but I wish I could code, I wish I was a Photoshop pro, I wish I could make professional videos with FinalCut, and I wish I’d learnt them earlier. I’m learning them slowly in my own time, which is better than nothing.
I believe this is the kind of message universities should be giving to their students as well as teaching standard course content. Also, having an online presence makes you more attractive, but that is for another blog post.