Let’s be real, shall we? Everyone binge watches T.V series in colleges as they make Maggi in an old pan. We’ve all done that; in fact, some of you might even be doing that right now! Well, that’s okay. But as young adults, we all must understand that the world is extremely competitive. You need to have an edge over the competition and your degree just won’t cut it. But college is all about a degree isn’t it? Well, yes and no.

Let’s talk about the ‘no’, why the ‘no’ and how we can optimally use the ‘no’.

Don’t like your major? Do another one!

Welcome to India, a place where most engineers never really wanted to be engineers but we’ve all been told: “the scope of engineering is high”. So is the case I’m sure, with some of you from different streams. That’s okay, nothing wrong with taking a safe and stable degree. But if you can do what you love side by side, then why not?

Study what you love!

IGNOU (Indira Gandhi National Open University), Udacity, Coursera, Internshala and many other platforms provide you with cost-effective and efficient ways of doing a variety of degrees and courses outside of your usual college degree, with verified certification of your efforts. The fact that these courses are correspondent in nature, with flexible timings, means that you won’t have to worry about your college’s 75% attendance rule!

Your reach is only limited by your own imagination.

For example, you could do a B.A in Sociology from IGNOU if you’d like to have Sociology as an optional in Civil Services examinations, that too for an all round cost of just Rs 6000! You could do courses in data mining or nanotechnology from Udacity to boost your resume for prospective employers. In the age of the Internet, the possibilities are endless and affordable. Your reach is only limited by your own imagination.

NIIT offers courses on a number of subjects related to Computer Science and Engineering, IGNOU offers degrees all the way from diplomas to B.A, B.Sc, M.A, and M.Sc. If the electives in your own college don’t satisfy your hunger, you could use online resources like Khan Academy to supplement your knowledge.

Participate, Experience, and Conquer!

The real test of character is always under considerable pressure. Everything from a person’s thought process, to their reactions, change when they’re put into high-pressure situations. An untested person always fails in these circumstances, while those who trust themselves come out on top.

But how do you earn this level of trust for your own abilities? How do you know that your instincts are in fact, correct? By testing yourself and taking up diverse experiences.

Student conferences in colleges exist for one reason and one reason only, to give students the necessary experience in handling responsibilities, working in teams and meeting deadlines. So take part in them. Along with whatever else your college has to offer. Experiment! The unfortunate thing is, many students never participate or volunteer for these events for the sake of the new season of Narcos.

Intern And Volunteer

Internships are often compulsory in colleges at the end of the third year but why wait for 3 years to get work experience? Can you write? Can you code? Can you teach? So why not take up an internship, or a part-time job or maybe even teach school students? A small steady source of income to fulfil your needs, as well as a nice new asset for your resume, what better way to use your free time?

Don’t run after a 9+ CGPA without building a good resume first. Employers look for competence and experience, not just your marks.

With sites like Internshala and Linkedin, looking for work has become so much easier. Even if you’re a first-year student with no real skills to contribute with yet, worry not! The nation is in dire need of volunteers for a variety of different events. NGOs and other organisations often look for volunteers for their assistance, offering them experience and a strong sense of fulfilment.

In summary, work smart and remain focused. Don’t run after a 9+ CGPA without building a good resume first. Employers look for competence and experience, not necessarily your marks. Don’t wait for your faculty to spoon feed you, take initiative. Most importantly, speak to your seniors about how best to alter your daily schedule, so as to make the most of the time you have.

Your years in college will be unforgettable. For the first time, you will be trusted with your own life and will have the freedom to take your own decisions. Use this time well and responsibly. We all have certain dreams and goals as we first set foot on the campus of our universities, but a vast majority of us end up losing sight of these ambitions. It’s important to have long-term goals and use the facilities provided to you by your college and by society as a whole, to slowly move towards those goals.

If you are looking to volunteer, here is a list of 10 best NGO’s you can work in.


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