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11 Life Lessons That College Won’t Teach You

11 Life Lessons That College Won’t Teach You

College life is something that teaches us many things. It tells us how irritating and annoying can people be in the beginning; yet at the end these people are the ones whom we call our best buddies. The most amazing part is that the college life allows us to define our selves. We choose our ideologies and perceptions about life. We experience first time freedom to develop and define our own unique existence.

The endless teasings, the first crush, the first group of best buddies, the first hangover, the first night out, the best enemies, the bunks, the professor’s questions, and much more: college life teaches us many things.

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    With so many memories and lessons learned, it could be surprising that there are a few things that were missed. Here are 11 life lessons that you won’t learn from years at the university.

    1. The courses and classes can’t be used much.

    The guy who sits next to you in the office may not have taken the same course that you did. The two of you may belong to different academic backgrounds, still you both earn the same respect and money. No one asks you what you learned in college, but you have to learn things on your own and finish the task which your boss “assumes” that you learned in college. College is over and now life is beyond the lectures and textbooks.

    2. In life, skills matter.

    The person who supervises you might just be younger than you. However, you will call him “sir”. In college a junior, who may be elder to you, respected you because you were senior. That was college, where respect was given. In real life, respect is earned.

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    3. The art of communicating.

    You may had escaped the Personality Development classes in college but in life you realize the importance of communicating well. You might need to propose a girl, you have to ask for a salary hike, or you may want to discuss issues with your neighbors. Communication skills are something which can make or break you.

    4. How to judge people correctly.

    In college a person is your friend or foe, but in life you just can’t guess what relationship you share. A “somebody” at office may proof to be a “nobody” at the time of need. A good friend at the office may cut off your chance of promotion because he has to make his own way. So you have to learn how to identify the traits of people around you. Actions may contradict the words.

    Young business man thinking with colleagues at the back

      5. You check yourself: what you say, how you say and to whom you say.

      In college you could abuse and fight with your batch mates on one day and the other day you found yourself busy with the same people because you had to complete an assignment together. But in life it is a different story. In college your friends and the others knew what you mean by your words, but in life people will perceive you as per their perceptions, not as per your words.

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      6. Networking and social connections always help

      In college your friends could be your world. But in life you can’t sustain without networking and social connections. You need a job referral; you need a new house; you need to start a business; you need to start your social activists group. This all means you need good relations with people.

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        7. Saving money isn’t easy.

        The quest to explore life, the thrill of being 100 feet in the sky, the joy of savoring the red wine in a vineyard, the scuba diving experience with the corals and sea creatures. For any of these adventures, you need some savings, which isn’t easy. Your paycheck will always have somewhere else to go–buying food, clothes, paying the bills, visiting your parents. And you’ll notice there won’t always be a lot left over after this.

        8. In relationships, actions speak.

        In college life, a romantic relationship thrived on sweet words. But in real life actions speak. You look at the person; you observe his/her actions and notice how he/she makes you feel. So be careful about the words you use, but also be careful about your actions and gestures.

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        9. Making mistake is fine but it must be a new one each time.

        Each mistake allows you to learn something. It leaves you with a lesson. But to succeed you must make a new mistake each time, so that you always get a new lesson. In college it was okay to ask the same silly question to the same professor again and again, but in life if you ask the same questions or make the same mistake again and again you will labeled as “dumb.”

        10. It is important that you keep marching ahead. Life is a journey, not a destination.

        When you were in school, you only wanted good grades. Once you reached college, you wanted to be famous. When you got your job, your next aim was to get a promotion. After being promoted you wanted a free holiday ticket with family, and so on. Life moves on and on and every moment you have new expectations and aspirations. So just pay attention to the little joys and keep moving ahead.

        11. Everyone is really busy, so you need to take care of yourself.

        Everyone around you is fighting his/her own fight. Even a five-year-old has his own challenges and tasks to do. Everyone is busy thinking about himself, so take care. Yes, you need to love and care for the person whom you see in the mirror because college is over and your friends aren’t there.

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          Last Updated on January 15, 2021

          7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

          7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

          The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

          Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

          Posture

          First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

          • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
          • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
          • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
          • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

          All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

          Facial Expressions

          Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

          • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
          • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
          • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

          If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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          1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

          A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

          The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

          This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

          2. Relax Your Face

          New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

          The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

          To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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          3. Improve Your Eye Contact

          Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

          The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

          To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

          3. Smile More

          There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

          Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

          4. Hand Gestures

          Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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          It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

          5. Enhance Your Handshake

          In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

          “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

          It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

          6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

          As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

          Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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          Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

          Final Takeaways

          Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

          If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

          More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

          Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

          Reference

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