I’ve recently seen and read some debate about the benefits of college and getting a university degree. While there’s a good argument to both sides, going to college teaches you more than what you learn in class.
For instance, opportunities to gain leadership experience. There could be situations you might not have experienced without being involved at school. Also, how to interact in certain situations as well as with people. We can’t deny that drama and unwanted instances will come to our door without us asking or wanting it. I’ve been able to draw from so many experiences while in college, that it has given me the ability to be comfortable with the uncomfortable.
“Do what you love and the money will come.” “Personal Empowerment.” “Subconconsciuous programming.” These are a few of the answers I received from some of my followers on Instagram. I asked what they thought the best class or concept they learned in college.
Anyway, my point is, the last few months as a college grad has been a period of reflection. I started to really think about everything that I learned over the last couple of years in class, and what I found to be important throughout that time. I look back and I am just astounded by the fact that the best classes and concepts I still use in my everyday life, I learned only in the last six months of my degree. And guess what??
THESE CLASSES ARE OPTIONAL!!!!!!!!!
Here’s the thing: Most of us go through a four-year degree, learn some basics, English math, social science, whatever… and then after the fourth year as we wrap up our major credits, we spread our wings and hope to fly. Right?
Well, I don’t remember anything I learned in the History of Life or most of the other courses that we take our first year because we have to in order to complete 120 credits.
So I wanted to point out my top two classes that I chose (again, weren’t required), and why I feel they’re relevant to every major.
SELF-AWARENESS (class was called Self-Empowerment or Management of the Self)
Do you know what self-awareness is? I don’t really think I knew for sure what it was until I took this class on a study abroad (16 days aboard the Norwegian Getaway). This class is comprised of the utmost necessary ideas and things to know such as self-awareness, financial freedom, nonviolent communication, leadership, and literally any life skill that you can think of you will learn from Sandro Formica, by far one of the best professors I’ve ever had.
With such a genuine outlook on life and empowering all students to take the necessary steps to the life they want is inspiring. I mean, each class you are literally writing about yourself. You are creating short and long-term goals. Vision boards. For me, even most importantly was confidence. The best paper I ever wrote in college was my 20 page, single-spaced, LIFE-THESIS.
It is literally a thesis about you. Your subconscious programming, why you are the way you are, how your experiences have shaped you as a person, and what you are doing NOW to get to where you want to be. All the excuses that we make like “don’t have time” “the world is against me,” are all BS excuses because we don’t want to face certain things. Or we fear the unknown.
This class just became open to all students at FIU. That was a big step and that I am happy about. But I think this class and the principles it teaches should be a vital part of any post-secondary education curriculum.
LEAN SIX SIGMA (as part of the Advanced Hospitality Internship class)
One of the requirements being a student of the Chaplin School of Hospitality was to accumulate 1,000 hours of industry experience to get into the senior class, Advanced Internship. During the advanced part, we would complete another 300 hours, this time hopefully in a management-level position.
The Advanced Internship course is online, and every week you submit updates on your senior project.
During the first week of class, one of the professors gave all 100+ students taking the course the option to attend 4 additional in-person classes if they wanted more help on the project. By coming to these additional classes, we would also have the chance to acquire a Lean Six Sigma green belt certification (and literally at no cost).
I had no idea what he was talking about but knowing I didn’t work on Saturdays in general, I signed up to attend these four classes. Essentially, the point of the senior project is to pick a process in your work and try to improve it, by making it more efficient, reducing cost, and even speed.
Similarly, these concepts are all concepts of Lean. What is Lean? What is Six Sigma? They are process improvement models that management uses in order to remove waste and reduce variation in their business.
Remember when I said there were over 100 students enrolled in the internship course? Well, less than 20 attended these classes. Don’t you find that sad? As a hospitality major, and with a business mindset, these concepts seem so fundamental. And we’re supposed to be managers. This is supposed to be our last class before we go off into the real world. I had no idea what Lean or Six Sigma was prior to this course, but now I am so much better off and have more of an advantage than other candidates now.
I appreciate the time and effort our professor, Jason Stiles, spent coming out to campus on those Saturday mornings to teach us something so worthwhile. Even if only one student signed up, he would still be there.
Topics like this can be used whether you’re in business, psychology, or engineering. It should be a core class. Even learning about self-awareness and empowering your students should be a priority. Like I said earlier, college is so much more than what you learn in the classroom. If you apply yourself and get to know your classmates, your professors, there will be an opportunity somewhere. TRUST ME.
My shoutout goes to Jason, Sandro and to all the other professors that are changing student’s lives for the better! Thank you!!