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Learn from the 20-something Year Olds: Invest in YOU

Author by Nisha Jani

Learn from the 20-something Year Olds: Invest in YOU
By Nisha Jani

As the school year ended, with the parking lot of my school in the rearview mirror, I could easily say I looked forward to spending time at home doing absolutely nothing. Summers between middle and high school grades were always glorified for vacations and hanging with friends. Even the time between college years became better known for mental hibernation.

When I look back, I realize that those summers were actually precious periods of time that could have been utilized to get ahead on the next year. So many times have I wished I could rewind time and maybe do a few more things, learn a new language, read another book, or volunteer abroad. If you’re reading this, and you’re a college graduate, you know exactly what I mean when I say, “I wish I knew then what I know now.”

Some advice I would give in retrospect: if you think it will make you a more well-rounded individual, do it. This includes anything that could possibly make you a better candidate one day for a future job. Of course, it varies between levels of schooling.

For example, for middle schoolers just leaving the school year, the best thing would be to follow those summer reading lists. I know it may not be appealing, but those books will stick with you forever. Read thoroughly and actively. Anything you read, learn to take notes as you go along. Look up words you don’t know. Highlight key points. Read to learn and ask questions. These habits, when formed young, will change your life drastically in college. Another example at that age is to volunteer at any place that sparks your interest. Even places that don’t sound tempting – volunteer some summer time out in order to know early on what kinds of careers you would or wouldn’t want to purse. Knowing what you don’t like doing is just as powerful a tool as knowing what you do like.

Learn from the 20-something Year Olds: Invest in YOU

The same applies to high schoolers. Aside continuing to devote service hours, read ahead whenever possible, especially if the next grade’s material is available. It’s a great idea to get acquainted with the following year’s lessons – and if you feel you’re a slower reader than your friends, this too will go a long way. During live classroom time, it gets very difficult to keep up with chapter readings. Learn ahead of time, glance over material, and it will help in integrating during the academic year. This practice could be the difference between a final grade of a B and an A. As you adopt this habit of seeing material ahead of time, you will become faster at turning mental images and facts into knowledge applicable towards standardized tests. Standardized testing is the bane of high school upperclassmen as they move towards college. And it doesn’t end there, so start EARLY. Remember to look into scholarship deadlines for the upcoming year as well. There is a ton of money out there for students, sitting unclaimed only because not enough students apply. Find them early, and work towards attaining them!

As for college students, the best advice for the future is to find experience – via internships, volunteering abroad, paid positions, and just speaking to people while networking. Experience is something that is extremely time-sensitive. The more you have at an earlier stage, the better for all of your career endeavors Becoming a well-rounded candidate takes time; it isn’t something you can catch up on the summer before senior year. Applications for jobs and graduate programs ask for consistency in the activities you choose to pursue. It is better to vary your experience earlier on, and then focus in on a few of those activities as you decide what you want to pursue. Remember to at least try everything once. Volunteer abroad with groups of students; learn a new language especially in a field where this comes as an advantage; and learn new technical skills. Learning skill sets during breaks in academics is the equivalent to shining gold stars on your resume. They tend to round out your application. The best part is that there are more opportunities to learn skills “for free” during college than after graduating. After you leave, it gets harder to gain any kind of knowledge that doesn’t require some sort of a cost. The price of education only gets higher with time. Trust me!

All of this is key to finding your passion in the long run. Eliminate what you don’t like and invest time in your future. It will bring you a sense of maturity that you will never find in the classroom. All the while, this will bring you self-confidence, also showing that you have the initiative to try something new without fear. Learn from my side of the student generation – and invest in yourself while you have the time!

Learn from the 20-something Year Olds: Invest in YOU
Nisha Jani About the Author

Nisha Jani earned a Master’s in Exercise Physiology and Sports Medicine from the University of Miami, where she also studied psychology and kinesiology. She currently pursues athletic training & strength conditioning, while working full time in cardiology. Nisha’s expertise in exercise and physiology fuel her lifelong passions of dance, fitness, and teaching. She is passionate about bringing awareness to the community about the benefits of preventative medicine in the form of exercise and diet, favoring a holistic approach to well-being.

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