4 valuable lessons learned in college—outside the classroom

A trip to his alma mater got the author thinking about the most important things he learned in college.

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This month, I made my bi-annual trip to my alma mater in Winona, Minn., to speak to classes about the PR industry—trends, skills, the job search, my experience, etc.

One question that came up in all three classes to which I spoke: What was the most valuable thing you learned in college?

It’s a good question, and most students likely suspect the answer comes from the classroom. Even though my academic experience was highly valuable, my biggest lessons in college did not come in the classroom.

Here’s a quick rundown of those lessons, and how they helped me in my professional life:

Selling ads for the student newspaper

Sounds like a lame job for a college student, doesn’t it? It was cold call after cold call, and it was tough. But you know what—it paid. For a college student in Winona, I didn’t need much. At that time, I could have a fun Thursday night for $10.

But the real value of this job was that it taught me to be fearless. One of my biggest challenges when I was young was the fear of meeting new people, speaking up in meetings, and pushing back on my boss. The job selling ads for the Winonan didn’t get me over the hump on all those fears, but it certainly paved the way.

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