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Three Lessons for University Students This Fall

From the Publisher's desk.

In June, I discussed ways young entrepreneurs can make the most of their summer breaks. Spending that time volunteering, networking, evaluating opportunities, and thinking critically about your successes and failures is an advantageous way to get a step ahead of your peers. While your free time during the summer is a great opportunity to work on your goals, your time at university is just as imperative, if not more so.

As young students are returning to university this fall they should be thinking about how they can maximize their time. Not only is your time important academically, but it's also a point that is critical to focus on your professional goals.

To that end, here are my top three lessons university students should consider to get the most value from their time:

1. Find a Mentor

Though relationship development is important at all stages of life, it is arguably the most valuable and significant while attending university. Although networking is one of the best ways to benefit from the knowledge and expertise of those around you, don't just stop there. Challenge yourself to find a mentor who is in a position or profession that you aspire to be in one day and one that shares your same way of thinking. It may be a professor, a big business owner, or even a young entrepreneur. The key is that this person is someone you respect and who you can learn from and guide you.

There is so much to be learned from those who were once in your shoes. Investing in relationships while at university is one investment that will have a good return.

2. Guard Your Reputation

Your time at university is meant to be fun and full of learning, but not at the expense of your reputation. Determining how you want to be viewed by others is something that should be thought about early on in your professional development

The Internet today is both a blessing and a curse, and unfortunately, whatever you publish online can someday come back to haunt you. It's important for university students to remember how your social media image reflects on you, and if your personal and professional presence online is not properly managed early on, it can create lots of obstacles down the road.

3. Gain Experience

Put your coursework to the test! Gain valuable experience by getting an internship or a job with a company that you are interested in. Also, consider volunteering for a non-profit that you believe in. Not only will you meet people and broaden your network, but you will also gain experience that can't be taught. Using the skills you have learned in class and applying them to a real-world situation is a great way to get a head start from your peers while exploring your interests.

Regardless of the degree you're earning or the university you are attending, maximizing your time is a worthwhile investment, which can have an invaluable return. Most university students choose a traditional path of class, studying, social events, and a part-time job. Chart your own course this fall by adding a few non-traditional lessons to your experience.

*Mark E. Curry is a leading entrepreneur, philanthropist and impact investor. Curry founded SOL Partners in Puerto Rico in 2012, and in January 2017 completed acquisition of NotiCel. As Chair of the Mark E. Curry Family Foundation, he invests in critical community charitable organizations.

Mark E. Curry. (Nahira Montcourt / NotiCel)