Everyone’s favorite class is their favorite for a variety of reasons. Some people find the curriculum interesting, some like their professor, and others just think it’s an easy GPA boost. While these aren’t bad reasons (well, maybe the last one isn’t the best reason…), there is so much more to a good class. A good class teaches not only the information needed for the class but also skills that are applicable and desirable for all careers. In my opinion, every good class teaches the following four skills:
1. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
This one should be obvious. No matter what you do in life, you’ll inevitably encounter problems. Whether in your job or just regular life, there will be times when you have to think very much outside of the box in order to accomplish a task. A good class will teach information and then test with problems that use that information, but in an unconventional way. This will help prepare for later in life when you have to use all of the knowledge you’ve accumulated over the years to solve problems and formulate unique ideas. Critical thinking and problem solving skills are both important and will stand out in the professional world. In fact, according to the Association of American Colleges and Universities, critical thinking is more important to employers than your major.
If you’re like me, you’re not a fan of group work. Trying to find a time that fits with everyone’s busy schedules is nearly impossible, and when you do meet with your group the number of distractions turns what should be an hour of work into four hours of YouTube and half an hour of work. However, group work can have its advantages. Like the old saying, “two heads are better than one,” other people can help formulate ideas and provide different outlooks. Multiple people means multiple outlooks, which can help you discover the best solution more easily than trying to do it by yourself. Many jobs these days are heavily grounded in team-based projects, so having this skill will look good when applying for jobs. This site has some skills that will help you not only become a better team member but will help you get better results from your team as a whole.
3. Positive Attitude
No one likes an overly negative person who constantly complains. A good class will act like a simulation of the real world. A mistake every once in a while is perfectly acceptable; you just have to shrug it off and move on without letting it get you down. It’s the same with a bad grade – you have to keep your head held high and move forward, knowing you can still succeed in the class despite the bad grade. A good class will challenge you and promote having a positive attitude no matter what happens. And even if you do end up getting a bad grade on an assignment, these tips from Forbes will get you back on track. Plus, your professor, academic advisor, and the Academic Success Center can help.
4. Time Management
From my experience, students (including myself) struggle with this skill the most. Staying up late and waking up early every day shouldn’t happen, and it ends up making classes much harder when you fall asleep in them. Sometimes, circumstances are outside of your control, but the majority of the time this issue can be solved with better time management. Start writing that paper two nights before the due date instead of the night before. Do your Spanish homework right after class, not during lunch 30 minutes before class starts. A good class will give a manageable workload that cannot be done an hour before class, forcing students to manage their time better while not overwhelming them and destroying their social life. Being able to complete tasks in a reasonable time without having to work overtime will look very good in the professional world as well. If you just don’t know how to start improving your time management, here are some helpful tips. Samford’s Academic Success Center can also help with time management; email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment!
A good class does so much more than teach you the subject information. A good class teaches you valuable life skills that will help in your career and throughout general life. These skills aren’t specific to any particular major or class and are applicable to pretty much every situation in life. Many classes develop these skills, and it is up to you to use your college classes to develop your skills.