3 Skills I Wished I Learned in College

Rana Campbell is a journalist, branding expert, and self- proclaimed “digital butterfly.” Follow her on Twitter , Instagram, or Facebook to connect or check out her website www.ranacampbell.com to read more interesting commentaries.

November 18, 2013 • Life Tips

Here are the 3 Skills I Wished I Learned in College…

As a writer, coming up with new topics can be a bit draining, so I turned to my audience for inspiration this time around.  I wanted to know what professional concerns my Twitter followers had and how I could best help them. Here’s today’s question:

Question: What are some skills you wish you had learned in college?
Damon McLean , Princeton University ’14

College is tough. Being a student at Princeton University was in many ways, extremely tough. Throughout my four years, I had to juggle school work, a job, extracurricular activities, personal life, family life, and more! The four years went by so fast that by the time graduation rolled around, I barely had time to reflect on everything I had and hadn’t done.

Nonetheless, here are the 3 skills I wished I learned in college:

1. Finances.  Maybe it’s because I was a Sociology major, but I barely did any tax or finance related coursework during my four years at Princeton University.  The closest thing I had to math was a Magic of Numbers class (that I struggled with immensely). Don’t judge me. If I could go back in time, I would have taken an introductory Economics class so I could learn more about how and why money rules the world.  I wished I learned more about filing taxes, budgeting, setting up a retirement fund, loan repayment options, and investing. These are all finance related things I had to make decisions about on the first day of my first job. I felt totally unprepared and had to do a lot of outside reading (and googling) in order to fill out the necessary forms. It would have been great if Princeton made sure every senior graduated being a pro at this real-life must knows.

2. Computer Science.  In this modern world, it should be mandatory that every college student graduates with  a basic or intermediate understanding of computer science. With the world going digital, computer science skills and all the other useful coding and data-related skills that come with it are important to the changing landscape of the workforce and technological world. I think it’s a shame that I was allowed to graduate without having to have taken one computer science course. While I know many Princeton students elected to take Computer Science, I shied away for reasons such as: The Courses are too hard. I’ll fail. I don’t want to go into the Computer Science Field. How silly of me! Although I am interested in communications, marketing, and PR, knowing basic computer science skills would have helped me understand the back-end systems of a lot of the technology I use on a daily basis. Coding is changing the world, people. I gotta get on that.

3. How to Relax (and be okay with it). Relaxing is a skill. It takes practice and needs nourishment. As many know, college life is stressful. You always have something to do, something you could be doing, or something you should be doing. Throughout my four years, I sometimes felt guilty for relaxing. The constant pressure of schoolwork and the never-ending list of things to do got a bit overwhelming at times. Oftentimes,I had to force myself to sit back and paint my nails (literally).  Now that I’m out in the real world, I find myself getting a bit antsy. What should I be doing right now? Is it okay that I’m doing nothing? Yes, it’s perfectly fine to come home from work and watch Scandal. No, you don’t need to think about the work document you didn’t finish, Rana. RELAX. Finding time to relax is important, but college sometimes made me feel guilty about doing that. I’m happy I’m starting to live a little and feel good about doing so.

What are some skills you wished you learned in college?

Ask me a question and I’ll answer it. Email me at ranaelyse@gmail.com.

Rana Campbell is a journalist, branding expert, and self- proclaimed “digital butterfly.” Follow her on Twitter , Instagram, or Facebook to connect or check out her website www.ranacampbell.com to read more interesting commentaries.

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Rana Campbell is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Ranacampbell.com, a site dedicated to personal branding and helping people learn how to SHINE in their personal and professional lives.

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