Advice columns aimed at college students are a dime a dozen, but here’s a “what I wish I knew about college” list that offers a few novel and counterintuitive ideas about getting the most out of the experience, from a Columbia University professor writing on the news website Vox.
Christopher Blattman — he’s an associate professor of political science and international and public affairs — has a list of 10 tips he’s gleaned from his work as a professor. “As it happens, I didn’t follow most of this advice myself, and I could have called this list ‘the 10 things I wish someone had told me,’ ” Blattman wrote.
Blattman suggests trying careers on for size before committing to them, perhaps by doing a summer internship. He recommends studying things in college that are hard to acquire outside of the university setting (statistics, for example). And he also endorses the need to become a good writer, even if you don’t think your career is going to require much writing.
“Being able to take complex ideas and explain them in short, straightforward, plain sentences is a skill you will use, whether you’re a lawyer, salesperson, blogger, or doctor,” he writes.
One surprising suggestion: Blattman recommends taking the minimum level of foreign-language classes. He argues that there are better ways to learn a language, such as through summer immersion or travel before or after college.
What do you wish you had known about college ahead of time? We posed that question to readers last year, and they had plenty to say. Got something to add? Tell us in the comments below.