In order to move their careers forward, what is the single biggest change students can make?
Stop calling themselves students.
I looked the definition of “student” up on Google:
Student (n.) – a person who is studying at a school or college; denoting someone who is studying in order to enter a particular profession; a person who takes an interest in a particular subject.
So, you’re a student. That means you’re interested in some field and study it from an academic perspective. Boring. And unremarkable. Why would a company want to hire a person that spent four years studying a profession… instead of doing?
And we wonder why “students” have a hard time getting hired?
To be taken seriously by employers, students must stop adding “student” onto the name of their desired field as an adjective:
- Management student
- Marketing student
- Engineering student
Instead, we ought to consider our fields (i.e. Public Relations, Entrepreneurship, etc.) to be verbs. Seeing your major as a verb inspires and requires action. It makes you feel like you better actually go do something.
Yes, you’re still studying as you go. Yes, you’re probably going to make more mistakes because you won’t know all the theory yet. Yes, you’re going to feel embarrassed, bewildered, lost, exhausted and humiliated at times because you will be working with people that have decades more experience than you.
But by doing. instead of considering yourself an academic, someone will want to hire you when you walk off the stage with a diploma.
Today, we’re getting rid of the word student for one reason:
How you speak about yourself – how you think about yourself – matters.
By changing your words, your actions will follow. Stop calling yourself a student, and you’ll begin seeing yourself as more than a person that studies how to do stuff. You’ll do stuff! All of your learning won’t come from books and a classroom – but real world experience. And eventually, you’ll begin to believe you can actually do stuff at a competitive level with other, perhaps more experienced, professionals.
From watching those around me, this is the biggest problem “students” have today. Somehow, the designation of “student” has come to mean that our only job for four years is to go to class, maybe work a part-time job and be sure you don’t incur too much debt along the way.
That’s our role in life: To learn, rather than do.
No one wants to hire a student. Completing college isn’t remarkable anymore. And there are very few “entry-level” jobs available that allow a “student” to grow into a professional.
Entrepreneurship students, go build. Marketing students, develop an original idea and go sell something. Computer science students, develop and ship a product.
Don’t just learn… do.
Your action items:
- Throw “student” out the window.
- Feel nauseous for a while.
- Get to work.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at BenMcintyre.com!
About the Author: Ben McIntyre is the CEO of Internpreur, a Nashville-based experiential education company that helps a select group of companies develop internships for an exclusive group of amazing students. Follow Ben on Twitter.