Seth Godin asked a great question on his blog today:
What does it mean to do well in school? Is it the same as "doing well on some tests"? ...That’s hardly the same as doing well in school. Where do we look up insight on your resilience, enthusiasm, cooperation, curiosity, collaboration, honesty, generosity and leadership?
I love this question, so lets explore it.
Let me start out by saying I am a fan of colleges. I think they provide a great education and knowledge. That's not what I am here to debate - I'm sure someone else will do that.
What a college test does is to see "whether or not you remembered something long enough to repeat it back on a test."
You gain knowledge - not experience.
Too often people focus more on gaining education than experience. They think if they have this degree or that certification or take a class on a skill, then they will have what it takes.
What they fail to ask themselves is, "How do I gain experience?"
Experience is where you apply the knowledge you learn. Experience is iterating on knowledge gained and trying again. This is where you learn those life skills Seth is asking about.
Not only will you learn those life skills, you gain these added benefits:
- Experience will tell you if you enjoy a particular field.
- Experience will guide you through job interviews.
- Experience will hone your skills.
- Experience will set you apart.
Focus on adding experience to your knowledge to complete the education equation.
Then if you find yourself in a job interview with Seth Godin, you'll have the perfect answer to his question.