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One Moment, Please... Lifelong education

Fri, Sep 6th, 2013
Posted in All Commentary

By Jason Sethre


Fillmore County Journal

Cell: 507-251-5297

By now, a fleet of students have descended upon college campuses throughout America. And, when I say “fleet,” I’m serious. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, a record number of 21.8 million students are expected to attend colleges and universities in the fall of 2013, up 6.5 from 2000. That’s a lot of tuition! I truly do wish them well, BUT I do have some advice.

1. A lot of money is spent on education each year, and the ratio of financial resources invested doesn’t always match up well with the human capital investment. A lot of students simply “take up space,” and I’m not referring to Astronomy. Of course, higher learning institutions are never going to turn off the faucet and tell you to stop investing in your education. But, how much is too much? Don’t waste time and money.

What do I mean?

I have known a lot of very educated individuals who lacked common sense. People with Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhDs in various areas of study, and they can’t land a job anywhere because they are not willing to start from the bottom and work their way up the ladder of responsibility and compensation. I have hired individuals who did not present the same academic credentials as others but had the desire to learn and grow with the company, because they didn’t present themselves as a prima donna. There is a limited amount of room in the workplace for those who think they are better than others and think they deserve special treatment. In other words, your work ethic can outweigh your education. Sorry to burst any bubbles.

2. An education doesn’t guarantee you anything. I have worked with some very smart people who were horrible team players. If you lack people skills, positive attitude, teamwork, or selfless motivation, then you probably need to find yourself a good self improvement program or accept that you will never live up to your full potential.

3. You are competing among your peers. As you enter the workforce, whether at the age of 18 or 22, you are jockeying for position. The quicker you “grow up” and take your job seriously, the more highly your employer will think of your performance, and the more likely you’ll get a glowing reference for the next phase of your career opportunities. The younger you are when you figure this out, the better off you’ll be.

4. Every job is important. Whether it is your first job in high school, and you detest the work you do, or it is the job you currently hold today at the age of 45, consider yourself fortunate. Take every job serious. Employers are paying you to take care of your company and the customers. If you don’t start taking your responsibilities seriously, then why should anyone else take you seriously? Step up to the plate and do what is expected of you. If you want a raise, then do MORE than what is expected. It is pretty simple, but some people don’t get it. Those who do get it should pounce on the opportunity. Some may call that “brown-nosing.” I call it “raising the bar.”

5. Beyond college or any higher learning experience, you should never feel as though you’ve arrived at the top of the mountain. We all have opportunities to learn from the people we interact with every day for the rest of our lives. Some people are full of themselves and think they know it all. Observe them too, but ignore a discrete percentage of what they have to say because it usually leads you down a path of their self-fulfillment and self-glorification. Instead, find those who are humbled by what they have and where they came from. Ask lots of questions and try to learn from their mistakes so you can avoid those paths.

6. What defines your success? Well, that’s simple, I think. Can you make a living doing what you enjoy the most -- something that brings you pride and self-worth? Find the answer to that question and hopefully you’ll find your success.

With that said, I should mention that the Fillmore County Journal does support an annual college scholarship program that is tied to the annual Journal Student Writing Project. Yes, you have to participate in the program if you want to have a shot at the annual $500 scholarship. So, just like anything in life, there is a bit of work involved. But, putting yourself out there in writing among our readers isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Just think of how this will enhance your lifelong education...

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