Archive | March 2013

Applied Learning Is Real-(World)

gpa

I’ve been meaning to write a blog on this topic for a long time. I guess today is the day. The topic that has caught my attention and elicited a great deal of thought is this: applied learning.

To preface, I’d like you to know that my educational history is very similar to the route many people take. I’m a proud alumnus of St. John’s Elementary School, I excelled at Columbus Middle School, I worked hard to graduate from Marshfield High School, and I worked even harder to graduate from Marquette University. I’ve been learning things in a educational environment for the last 17 years of my life so, clearly, the work I was putting in was to earn the highest GPA I could.

Most of the people I now see in interviews will confidently share their GPA (if it is noteworthy). A grade point average is something most people hang their hat on, and rightly so, it is the only thing they have been measured by for the last 17 years! But the reason for my deep thoughts on this topic come back to one question: why does it matter?

In most fields, the importance of your education does not come back to how well you did on exams or the number of reading assignments you actually completed, but to how well you can apply what you’ve learned to every other aspect of your life.

Marketing students learn about the product life cycle and customer relations management. Great. How do they apply to the intro-level sales position you are in now? If you don’t know, the lessons may be lost. If the lessons are lost, why did you spend the time learning them?

I am by no means discounting a great education. I believe an education is incredibly important and will help you achieve your goals in every way. I am simply telling you to get the most out of your education by drawing parallels between what you’re learning in school and what you’re experiencing elsewhere. By doing this, you’ll engrain the lessons you’ve learned in school into your mind, and you’ll be able to apply these lessons to real-life situations.

If you’re like me, and you’ve dedicated (or are currently dedicating) a great deal of time to obtaining a high GPA, make sure you’re making your time count. Then, when you’re in an interview, you can tell your interviewer not only your GPA, but the ways your GPA will have a positive effect on the company…It will get you the job and will lead you to success in your position.

Let me know what you think about applied learning in the comments below!

Channeling Your Inner Toddler

toddler-activities

The average 4-year-old asks 400 questions per day. That means, if a 4-year-old wakes up at 7 am and goes to bed at 8 pm, he or she will ask 30 questions per hour, and that’s not counting nap-time!

Toddlers may do this for a number of reasons, but I’m willing to bet that one reason is at the top of the list: they’re interested!

Let’s be honest, 400 questions is far too many for any normal person to handle, but I do think we can take a lesson from these inquisitive toddlers. At some point, we all decide on the topics that will elicit our interest, and in the process, we close our minds to the world outside of those interests.

We’ve stopped asking questions, and we’ve lost interest!

Tantrums and nap-time aside, I’d like to encourage you to channel your inner toddler. Consider taking interest in the world around you, even if it’s not naturally easy for you to generate. Start asking why, and actually listen to the responses you get. Taking this approach will make life much more interesting, and you may gain some surprising insight and perspective.

Leave a comment and let me know how channeling your inner toddler affects your day!

“Ink It When You Think It”

writing just do it logo

Author and Brand Consultant, Sam Horn, recently told me to write ideas down as soon as I have them. “Ink it when you think it.”

This got me thinking…no one writes anything down anymore. Sure, people write out grocery lists, and some may stay organized with bullet points in a planner, but how many people write down an important idea they’ve had or lesson they’ve learned after hearing or reading it?

You may be saying, “Kyle, I’m not going to write down every lesson I learn. “Ain’t nobody got time for that” 

If you did just say that, as unlikely as it is, you’re right. No one has time to write down every single idea they have, lesson they learn, or story that amuses them, and that’s a good thing! I’m not telling you to give up your social life to transcribe all the intricate details of your daily observations. But just because you cannot write them all, does not mean you shouldn’t make an effort to document the good ones! Just like the story about the boy throwing starfish back into the ocean, you may not have time for all of them, but you do have time for a few, and those few will make a huge difference.

What type of difference can it make?

I was recently looking back at some of the notes that I took about intriguing things I had heard or read. What amazed me about these notes was not the information I was seeing again, it was my realization that I had used the stats, quotes, and stories from these notes on numerous occasions!

The information I had written down was the information I not only remembered, but used.

And why is it important to remember this information?

Simple. Your ability to seamlessly transition to stories, stats, and quotes within casual conversation will make you interesting! And believe it or not, interesting people make great connections and obtain opportunities that uninteresting people miss out on.

Learn new things. Write them down. Bring them up. Repeat.

Then, tell me something you wrote down. I’m interested!

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