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Eureka: Advice to college students
by Jay Gutman
2018-08-02 07:13:23
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Advice to college students, in no particular order.

-College debt. I think today's college students love paying taxes. Because college debt is a form of tax. You borrow money and in the future whatever salary you have will have portions extracted going to repaying your college debt. In sum, it's a tax, an expensive one, with interest rates.

-Cheap colleges. Before deciding what college you want to attend, you want to compare quality and the price. Some colleges are incredibly expensive, yet professors and the administration will treat students like a bag of turd. Some colleges are very cheap, and administration and professors treat their students like their best friends. Before choosing a college, first look at the price. Google cheapest college in town or in the country. You'll get a list of cheap colleges. Then, if you have time, visit the college and ask these two questions: are the professors kind and fair? Is the administration kind and fair? If the answer is no, pass. If the answer is yes, then you should go for that college.

stu0001_400-Skills you will need. The more knowledge you have, the better. The more people you know and who know you by name, the better. Valued skills include language skills and computer skills, and if you pick up a language or computer skill, you will want to be good at it.

-Picking up knowledge and skills. One of the common mistakes college students do, and I've done it myself, is to be too ambitious when trying to pick up knowledge and skills. You want to learn 5 languages and read 12 books a day, and want to attend 5 conferences a week and go to all the advertised parties. Learn one language at a time, read one book at a time and go to one event at a time. I say this because we tend to decide what book to read next when we've finished that book, tend to decide what skill to pick up next when we've picked up a new skill.

-Making the most out of semesters abroad. I'm surprised at how mismanaged study abroad programs are. During your study abroad, you want to spend time learning the local language, both in formal classes and in informal chats with people. You also want to pick a country you will have a long-term relationship with, otherwise it's just a waste of money.

-Extracurricular activities, competitions, awards, groups, clubs. The more of those you join, the better. You want to show your future employers that you were proactive.

-Where do you plan to work? Ideally you will have a job lined up before graduation. Or several jobs lined up before graduation. The only thing between you and a job is either bad university administration, bad professors, a bad boyfriend or girlfriend, or not having friends to discuss your future with.

-Go where you're celebrated. A lot of universities and companies celebrate mediocrity and punish intellect and ability. Those places exist. If you think of yourself as a mediocre kind of guy (I hope you don't) then you should probably choose companies where mediocrity is celebrated. If you think of yourself as a decent kind of guy, go where abilities are celebrated.

-Have fun and gain more skills. Once you get a job you will tend to constantly need to update your skills, mainly computer skills and language skills. But don't let that take all your free time!

-And finally, to avoid being called an asshole, use “we” rather than “I”. Something I notice about millennials, and older people, in some cases very old people, is they show up to work and they say “I have done this” and “I have done that” and “I can do this” and “I can do that.” That doesn't make you more interesting. If you want to progress in a decent company, you can slip in the occasional “I” but you want to talk in terms of “we have done this and this is the part I played” or “we will do this and this is the part I will play.”

Just my two cents. Hope you have a decent college career and success in life.

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