Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Two Things I've Learned In College

The title of this post is a little misleading. I've obviously learned way more than two things since starting college. Things like how to account for credit card sales, ways in which the Fed can control the money supply, and how exactly the Internet works. But those things are facts that don't exactly lend to interesting blog posts.

Even though I've learned many business things in college, I've also learned some life lessons along the way. I've found that those lessons are more interesting to read about ;)

The first really important things I've learned is about working with other people. It's inevitable that you're going to work with other people for the rest of your life whether you're employed in the traditional way or not.

And working with people can be a real challenge. I can't even remember how many group projects I did this past year because there were so many. I had to work with lots of different people who didn't exactly work the same way I did. However, I think I found one of the keys to working well with just about anyone. If everyone took this advice, working on school group projects would be a breeze!

You don't have to be extraordinary or super smart, but if you do your work ahead of schedule, you'll impress just about anyone.

For example, I was in a group project where we had to write a business plan. We divided up the work into sections and had a designated editor who would put the paper together and make sure everything flowed smoothly. We laid out expectations and due dates by when each person had to send their finished part to the editor.

I wrote my section while I watched a movie over spring break. I did a fair amount of research and put some real effort into the piece, but it wasn't the best business plan ever written. BUT, I turned it into our editor several days in advance, and I can't even tell you how grateful she was to have it a little bit early.

You don't always have to write an amazing paper filled with great vocabulary words. Just do your best and get it done a little early than is expected of you, and it seems like people get really impressed by that. I am definitely going to continue to use this lesson when I start working for real - just imagine how impressed your boss would be if you finished a report a day before it was needed!

Another lesson I've learned has to do with my job. I work in an office where all of the full time employees dress business casual. Since I'm a student worker and I work in the back of the office where no one would even see me anyway, I don't have to dress business casual. In fact, there isn't really a dress code for the student workers as long as you don't show up in something super skimpy. We're allowed to wear shorts, yoga pants, gym shoes - basically anything we would wear to class.

Don't get me wrong - there have been plenty of times this past year where I've gone to class and work in yoga pants and a sweatshirt. However, now that it's summer, I'm not in class, and I'm not working a ton, I've been really trying to dress a little nicer than I'm expected to.

It's kind of like the saying "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have." Although I don't 100% agree with that statement, but I do think that dressing up a little more than necessary can be a good thing.

I can't tell you how many times I've been stopped by other people in the office complimenting me on my outfit. It's not like I'm getting super dressed up either - oftentimes I wear a skirt and a shirt, a dress, or a pair of capris with a nicer shirt. It's nothing over the top, but it's enough to stand out a little.

Sometimes the simplest things - like dressing a little nicer than is expected of you - can make you stand out.

Not to mention the fact that it's just fun to dress nice. I mean, who doesn't like to feel a little extra pretty even if it's just for a day at work?

Two of the lessons I learned my first year of college that I will definitely be using in the future are so simple, but I think they can truly make a difference in the way people see you - just go a little above and beyond by getting things done early or dressing a little nicer, and it seems like others will be much more respectful of you.

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