University life: 
Getting what you need in 4 steps

What do you do when your university schedule does not quite fulfil you?

Panic, drop out, change subject or even university?

Absolutely not, you simply figure out what you are missing and get it from somewhere else.

First of all there is nothing wrong with changing your field of study. Just make sure that you are 100% clear on your decision. Not all of us know what we want to do in our lives, which goals we want to achieve, what we want to spend our time on and with whom we want to spend our time.

If you need some proof you can simply contact some of my older friends and they will tell you how often I changed my life plans. Even in this moment I don’t have a plan that is set in stone and it is very likely that it will not be the way I expect it to be right now.

However, that does not stop me from being super interested in various different subjects and wanting to learn something new every day.

So if you are not satisfied with your university courses; fear not, I have a solution that allows you to tailor your university experience to your needs. As long as you don’t totally hate the subject you are studying I am sure there will be at least one or two points that will help you shape your future.

This topic has been on my mind a lot recently. This is coming from me spending two years at university, finally feeling like I found the right way to get everything I expected to get from university, from my day to day experiences. For me this wasn’t easy, but I will give my best to make your life a bit easier.

Here we go!

Step 1: Talk with (the right) people

Growing up a lot of us make the mistake of asking the wrong people for advice. Talking to people in general can be very insightful, but be careful which advice you follow.

To explain this with an example:

Let’s assume for a second you want to create an amazing start-up. Whom would you ask for advice? Your professor? Your parents? Your friends? Or perhaps someone who actually has an amazing start-up?

The answer to this might seem very obvious, but you meet people every day that struggle to implement this thought in their search for guidance.

So far so good. There is another point you should watch out for when looking for advice.

When you are working closely with someone, to learn from what they are able to do. You are not only learning from their behavior, but also from their attitude. Respect yourself enough to walk away from someone who might have the knowledge you need, but does not apply it according to your beliefs and your values.

Of course finding a person who has the exact skills and attitudes you are looking for is not always easy, but I assure you it is worth finding the right people to talk to.

To summarize: Talk to the people that are where you want to be.

Step 2: Learn with others

“I am so much faster when I study this by myself.”

Who of you had this thought before? – I sure did.

From experience I can tell you that when it comes to studying it is not always about understanding the subject or passing an exam. To learn the most about a topic it often helps to see it from a different perspective.

On the one hand, this gives you the possibility to refine your understanding and your ideas. On the other hand, seeing what motivates other people to learn and develop themselves in a certain area can also restore your curiosity and interest in your subject area.

Step 3: Create impact in the “real world”

Throughout my university experience I asked one question a lot: “How can I apply this?”

I rarely got a good answer. For me personally this was one of the main reasons why I started looking for something that I could do additionally to my studies.

What I found was AIESEC. There I started to use the skills I got from university, different jobs, and internships all in one place. By working with many different stakeholders and developing leadership in the people that surround me I started changing the society I live in.

This was eye opening for me because I found something that I deeply care about. Knowing that not everyone has the same goals, I can only tell you: Find what you stand for. Find something that you want to create. Few things are as fulfilling as creating impact through your own actions.

No matter where you find this space to apply your knowledge practically, I am sure looking for it will be worth your time.

Step 4: Strive for goals

Nothing in life is as easy as giving up.

In the times of delivery services, Netflix & Co it is very easy to waste a whole day by indulging in small, short term happiness boosts. As dedicated as we seemed when we put our goals and dreams on paper, for every journey there comes the time when we forget why we even started it.

As nice as creating an impact in the “real world” sounds in the beginning, there comes the point when reality actually hits you. As long as the budget only exists on paper it does not really limit you. Even working in a team is a lot easier if it is not you who has to worry about the team’s structure.

Do not let reality push you down. I strongly believe that the beauty of achieving goals gets lost when achieving them is too easy.

To achieve your goals, sooner or later you will work with real resources. Working in AIESEC lead me through a lot of ups and downs when it comes to that. Getting used to the threats that reality has prepared for us made my life a lot easier and helped me to stick to my goals more persistently.

Last but not least: Know what your goals mean to you. Be clear on what you want to achieve during your time as a student and follow up on it.

Do not back down – it is worth it.

Final recap of the above mentioned tips:

  • Talk to (the right) people
  • Learn with others
  • Create impact in the “real world”
  • Strive for goals

I’ll leave you with this. In the end: is it up to your university, your parents or your government to create your future? Or do you perhaps have a bigger duty in that than everyone else?

After having studied different subjects, worked in different companies and student organizations, for me the answer to this is obvious:

What do you like most about your time as university student? Is there something you disagree with? Questions? Comments? Like my ideas? Tell me in the comments below!

By Lukas Bensch

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