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The #1 Key to Success in College: Collaboration, Relationships, and Strong Networks

The #1 key to success in college is 

also the #1 key to success in life 

and the #1 key to success in the workplace 

and the #1 key to success in virtually anything:

The #1 key to success in college is getting to know and work well with others.

 

When most high school students are starting to think about college and looking forward to life after high school, most of the advice given to students focuses on them alone. 
 
Don’t most people ask the student questions about their interests, plans, desired major field of study, kind of job they want to get, activities they plan to be involved in? Here the primary focus is on the student. 
 
But what is rarely taught to most students is that success in college and in the workplace is not just about the student 
 
What virtually every millennial understands well is that life in the world is about connections—after all what are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat, Reddit, Pinterest, Skype all about if not connections. But what does this mean for each student as they aim for success in college?

 

Success in college and also the workplace is due to connections, to relationships.

Let me explain this a bit. If you are a student, how you connect with others, who you connect with, and the quality of those connections, like an electrical network, make all the difference in the quality and success of your life, of your time in college, in your career trajectory, and in the difference that you will make in the world. 

You see, it is about making your “power network” effective. It is about ensuring that your inflow and outflow of energy and resources work for you. And while you are in college, you have an invaluable time to practice your communicating, networking, teamwork skills—all of which you will need throughout your life whether in your family, in your career, or in your community service activities. 

This means that you want to develop your skills in working together with others. Unfortunately few are explicitly taught the skills of relationship building, of teamwork, of collaboration, and of mutual respect.  

As the Harvard University education expert Dr. Tony Wagner explains, once in the workforce, students will need to be able “to forge effective collaborative teams and work with people who come from vastly different cultures.” (The Global Achievement Gap 24) 

There are the three facets of the everyday experience of a college student: being successful in your classes (learning), being successful in your organizational involvement (doing), and being successful in your life (being). 

You want to make sure that your college career achieves success in all three of the following key aspects:

  • Success in Your Overall Academics and Specific Classes: Learning
  • Success in Your Organizational Involvement & Jobs: Doing
  • Success in Your Everyday Social and Personal Life: Being

Remember that the early 17th century poet John Donne wrote the famous line “No man is an island.” Here are the first few lines from that poem:

No man is an island,

Entire of itself,

Every man is a piece of the continent,

A part of the main.

A full and rich life in college is very much about meeting people, talking with them, listening to them, getting to know others and letting others get to know you. For a successful experience in college, you want to surround yourself with people who are your cheerleaders, who want to see you succeed, who are there to help you in different ways, and who, in turn, you can assist in different ways as well. 

So when in college, students need to make sure that they are involved, that they take care of their overall wellness (socially, physically, mentally, and emotionally), and that they do not lose sight of their main job in college . . . and that is studying, hitting the books, learning as much as possible, developing new skills, and doing well in class. And as this blog begins to elucidate, success in all aspects of college life and learning involves working together with others in effective, purposeful, and enriching ways. Remember that:

 

The #1 key to success in college is

the #1 key to success in life

and the #1 key to success in the workplace

and the #1 key to success in virtually anything:

 

The #1 Key to Success in College Is Getting to Know and Work Well with Others.


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