When you are at college, it is quite easy to lose sight of why exactly you are doing it. What are you going to do with the theoretical knowledge you receive now? How much of it is going to be useful in your life after graduation? Are you using your time and resources to your best advantage right now?
Very often theoretical part of education starts to occupy way too much time and effort; and if college doesn’t help you find balance between theory and practice, you should find ways to do it on your own.
Internships are your best tools in getting real-life knowledge and putting what you’ve learned in college to practice. And it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that what you potentially can learn during an internship costs more than everything that can be given to you at college.
There is much resentment towards unpaid internships – they are said to be an exploitation of the vulnerable position in which students and graduates find themselves and so on. In reality, internships provide a fantastic opportunity of getting that what students critically lack: practice.
2. Student Practice Organizations
Depending on what kind of education you are getting, you may get an opportunity of a real-world experience from a student practice organizations. These are run by student boards and aim at providing students with opportunities of practicing their skills without getting official jobs. The sphere of their activity may be very different, and in case of some specializations this arrangement won’t work altogether – but sometimes they may prove to be extremely useful. For example, SPOs at Harvard Law School allows their participants to take part in real court proceedings, do legal research and much more.
3. Volunteer Work
Volunteering can be a priceless source of experience, both in terms of work and lasting impressions. You may practice your profession, learn new skills, meet new people, find new applications for your abilities – and quite often you will even get credits for it.
It is often said that the best way to learn something is to teach somebody else. And it is very much true – by switching your position in the education process you get an incredibly useful insight into the subject in question and, in addition, an opportunity to put the knowledge you’ve received in college into practice. High school students and freshmen will be happy to get instruction from somebody who is closer to them, understands them better and, let’s face it, doesn’t come very expensive.
Practice plays an increasingly important role in the educational system with every passing year – it has been proved that information retention rates are at their lowest when you serve as a passive recipient of data, and at their highest when you engage in an activity that demands actual implementation of that knowledge.
However, many schools and colleges are still far from understanding the full importance of this approach, so meanwhile you have to take care of balancing out your education on your own.