Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting a high school class to speak about the university experience and of course to put in a plug for my institution. Instead of starting my presentation by asking standard questions like “How many of you have applied to university?” and “How many of you know what program you want to pursue?”, I started by asking “WHY?”.
WHY do you want to go to university anyway?
The classroom stayed silent. It was very uncomfortable. Most students stared at me blankly. Apparently they hadn’t been asked or hadn’t thought about this question before.
Eventually one brave soul raised his hand and reported that he wanted to go to university and get a degree because that was simply what you had to do to eventually get a job.
I was disappointed. If the only reason you are planning to pursue or are in post-secondary studies is to get a degree, leave with that flimsy piece of paper in four years, then you are really missing out.
There are so many other reasons to attend university and although I can rhyme off building your network, developing transferable skills (that yes, can be beneficial when it comes time to seek employment) and gaining new knowledge, YOU need to identify your personal WHY in order to make the most of your experience.
If you don’t know your WHY then how are you going to make decisions? What courses will you take? What clubs will you join? What relationships will you pursue?
The students who get the most out of their post-secondary experience are those who begin with the end in mind (which happens to be Stephen Covey’s second Habit of Highly Effective People). Decide what you want at the end and then design your experience around that vision.
Everyone can benefit from periodically revisiting our personal WHY. Incorporating this habit into our routines to help prioritize and focus time and energy is invaluable. Unfortunately those always seem to be in short supply.
I’m curious. What’s your WHY?
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/cybercafe/4414515565/”>markheybo</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>