Why you are “in school” is not the reason you might think…

Recently, George, an engineering student in Egypt, was sharing with me his challenges with school. He is making the mistake many students make, thinking they are in school to learn calculus, chemistry or any other “subject” matter.

The reality is that you are a student in high school and/or university for one reason only – to learn HOW to learn…

Depending on what you are studying, you will acquire and develop different learning (cognitive skills).

Engineers learn problem solving skills.
Lawyers learn interpretive skills.
Doctors learn diagnostic skills.

Once you realise this, your life as a student changes.

If you are in high school or university, you may INTEND to practice engineering, medicine or law, but the reality is that most students do something ELSE with the education following graduation. Once they launch their careers, they leverage their acquired skills to the extent they developed them WHILE they were students. The paradox is that unless you study like an engineer, doctor or lawyer, you simply cannot (as easily) acquire THOSE particular skills. You need to develop those skills WHILE you are a student…

When you study across disciplines as I have, social science, engineering, business and law, you realise that each skill set has its place in society.

The BIG question for you to ask yourself as a student is – “what skill(s) do you want to have once you graduate?”

7 Responses to “Why you are “in school” is not the reason you might think…”


  • So how does a student decide which skill set – problem solving, interpretive, diagnostic, undefined – is the best fit?

    • The issue is not which one is the best fit because it depends on what you want to do once you graduate. All three skills are valuable and should be developed over time. It just helps to KNOW what you are doing WHILE you are doing it – especially when you are a student LEARNING the skills.

      There is nothing worse than NOT KNOWING what you’re trying to accomplish. Also, if you struggle with one of the skills, you will struggle not only IN school, but after graduation. Just something to think about!

  • I absolutely love the idea of studing like a ‘doctor’ to aquire the skills you need to go into that profession.Many people dont have this perspective even if they know what they want

  • I want to have motivation and know how to study. I am a mature student and I never learned how to revise. I rewrite the books and by the time I have finished with one page, I have forgotten what I have read and rewritten. I keep failing and I need help to stay focused.
    Also, one thing that I have noticed is that as soon as I come across something I can’t easily do, I give up – not consciously, I just start looking around, flicking through my books, wanting to do housework, absolutely anything but actually solve whatever I am struggling with!

  • Hi,
    You have summarized Engineering, Law and Doctor and forgot to throw some light on MANAGEMENT. I am a management student and I really loved the way you have summarized the the aforementioned professions. Let me summarize Management :
    “To Understand the business”

    Great share

    Thanks
    Susan

  • Ofcourse, Even I am a management student and I believe that you should throw some light on management subjects. Management is simply “Managing a business”

  • I am an engineering student with so much energy and I believe engineering is here to increase innovations and make life easier for everyone.

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