While in college, I was a part of quite a few organizations — a sorority and a few philanthropic organizations to name a few. I couldn’t have dreamed that I would learn as much as I did or walk away with as many skills as I did.

I learned more participating in these than I learned in class and I have a myriad of experiences that are applicable to my work life in my repertoire because of them.

Here five critical career skills that you will learn from being involved in college:


The greatest lesson and skill that I learned from my involvement in various organizations was how to be a true, authentic leader. I learned how to lead my peers so that they respected me. I understood the importance of delegating and figured out how to effectively delegate. I learned that in order to lead a team, you have to lead by example.

I knew that I had to be devoted to the mission of the organization and be dedicated to it in order to garner respect from my peers. I learned to train and develop a team, then trust them to excel. I learned the importance of teamwork and actively listening to others and their ideas.

Regardless of your title, you can be a leader in your career and your superiors will see and appreciate your ability to lead regardless of the title they give you.

Sales & Marketing

Every organization I was involved in required some sort of recruitment of members, or publicity for the organization and its events. Any good organization on campus, regardless of what it is, requires some sort of marketing to the university and its students.

I learned that it is important to have a consistent brand and public image. I learned how to come up with an elevator speech and how to give one. I learned how to sell my organization and its events to fellow students. These skills have been quite beneficial in my professional life.

Having the ability to articulate the mission and purpose of your organization is crucial to business success. And having the ability to convince someone to invest in your company can set you apart from your peers.

Event Planning

I gained tangible and real event planning experience in college. So many organizations host on campus events, so having the ability to host an event comes with membership to almost any group.

Event planning is a combination of big picture goals and planning small details. I learned the importance of a vision and overall goal when it comes to an event. This sometimes requires creativity and input from others. In addition to having a strategy for the overall event, event planning requires the ability to execute small details and delegate to others. Delegating is crucial when it comes to event planning. I quickly learned that I don’t have the ability to do it all and that teamwork and trust are the only way to put on a successful event without going crazy. Lists can be crucial to the success of an event. I learned the importance of planning ahead and visiting back often.

Regardless of your career path, having the ability to plan and execute a task will be an asset to you and your company.

Conflict Resolution

This lesson was one that I could have guessed I would learn. This lesson was also a harder one to learn. In order to be a part of a large group with many different personalities and work styles, it is important to learn not only how to work in that team, but to deal with conflict. I learned that when dealing with conflict and difficult personalities, it is crucial to assume the best intentions.

I learned the importance of difficult conversations. When having those conversations, it was crucial for me (regardless of my role in those conversations) to be respectful, fair and open minded. So often we are involved in conflict because of miscommunication and not trying to truly understand the other person’s perspective. This is another skill that I have been able to take in my work life and in my adult life.

Public Speaking

According to Glossophobia.com, 75% of have glossophobia, or the fear of public speaking. Being involved, and particularly being in leadership roles, will allow you to practice public speaking and overcome any fears you may have. The more and more that I spoke in public about the organizations that I cared about, the easier and more fun it became.

Having the ability to create a presentation and present it to a group of people is crucial in your career. And doing those things well will be a huge benefit in your professional life.

I so loved being involved in college. It allowed me to create friendships that have lasted long after graduation. My involvement created a love for giving back and serving my community that is now a core part of who I am. Whether you are still in college or in the beginning of your career, there are so many things you can learn from being involved in your community and I would encourage each of you to check out organizations in your school or your community. It will change your life.


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