Earning your diploma or degree can be a huge accomplishment in your path toward a career. Each day spent on school pushes you further toward that goal. That said, because the diploma or degree is considered a means to an end, we sometimes become so focused on the finish line that we fail to enjoy the journey along the way.
It’s similar to when we’re driving to a friend’s house before a fun night out. We become so excited to get together and have a great time that we aren’t paying attention to everything that we pass along the way. We don’t give the beautiful flowers along the roadside a second glance, and we risk missing the cool new spot that just opened down the street. Our mind is so focused on what we’re going to do once we arrive that we miss everything else.
While it’s certainly understandable to have a high level of excitement about all the good things that may lie ahead, taking the time to truly appreciate the journey toward our ideal career role offers a few important advantages.
Benefits of Enjoying the Educational Process
Have you ever noticed how happy kids are? They can have the same amount of fun whether they’re on a ride at an amusement park or building a fort out of empty boxes in their living room. Now, imagine having this same ability with your education.
When you approach the educational process with the eyes of a child, each step you take becomes less of an obligation and more of an experience. You start to look around you versus focusing solely on the final goal, enabling you to see all of the beauty that exists along the way.
With education specifically, this beauty includes not only gaining the knowledge that can make you more successful in your field, but also creating friendships with students who have similar goals. It involves networking with other soon-to-be-professionals who can act as sounding boards or additional sources of information as you progress toward your career of choice.
Plus, which goes by faster: a week-long vacation or your workweek? Vacations can seem to pass by quickly because you’re doing things you enjoy. Whether engaged in physical activity or simply relaxing, you’re having a good time. Before you know it, vacation is over and you’re back to your day-to-day life.
Not that anyone should wish their life away, but there’s also no joy in trying to simply “make it through” your educational journey. Besides, obtaining your education can be just as enjoyable as other activities in your life, such as engaging in your favorite hobby or spending time with family and friends.
7 Ways to Fully Enjoy Furthering Your Education
If you like the idea of finding more enjoyment from your educational path, these seven strategies can help.
- Take the time to look on the bright side. Every day, strive to see the little things that make that particular day fulfilling. Maybe you had an enlightening conversation with an advisor or met a new classmate who has similar interests. It could even be something as simple as noticing the brightly colored butterfly that is fluttering outside your window as you work on an assignment. Two to three times a day, stop what you’re doing and look around you. Notice all of the beauty that exists in your world, both literally and figuratively.
- Stay present. Staying present enables you to fully enjoy your journey, both in education and in life. It slows you down enough to appreciate what is happening today versus stressing over something that occurred yesterday or worrying about what may happen tomorrow. When you feel your mind drifting backward or forward in time, refocus it on what you’re doing right now. You may notice that you feel less stressed when you do.
- Keep a gratitude journal. Life can get so busy sometimes that it’s easy to overlook all of the people and events and other things that make us feel blessed. This is where keeping a gratitude journal helps. Every morning or night, write down three things you feel incredibly blessed to have in your life. If you’re up for a challenge, try to not repeat a blessing from one day to the next. This forces you to dig deep and truly consider what it is you are thankful for. It also makes you more acutely aware of all of the wonderful aspects of your life.
- Ask yourself one question every day. The learning process can sometimes feel monotonous. You read your textbook, do the coursework, then take your exam. Then you do it all again. To keep from getting stuck in a rut, at the end of each day, ask yourself what is one thing that you learned today that can help you in your career down the road. Not only does this remind you that you are learning the information and skills you need to work in your field of choice, but it also helps you consider how what you’re learning can help you once you are in your desired role.
- Let your education expand beyond the classroom. Taking online or in-person classes can increase your education. It may even make up the bulk of what you learn career-wise. This doesn’t mean that you can’t enrich your experiences beyond the classroom too. For instance, some programs at Ultimate Medical Academy (UMA) include a practicum or externship, enabling you to practice what you’re learning in an actual healthcare environment. The benefit of adding this type of experience to your educational journey is that it gives you a better feel for what it is like to work in that field or within a specific setting. It’s also beneficial for students who learn best by doing as they can put their education into action.
- Think of your classes as only part of the journey. Once you earn your diploma or degree, your learning doesn’t stop there. You’ll always be picking up new ways to do things or discovering what works best in your position, as well as what doesn’t. So, instead of viewing the educational process as a complete line that extends from where you are to where you want to be, think more of it as just a portion of your educational journey. Your diploma or degree is only a midway point and not the end of the road. This helps by removing the idea of working toward a final destination, which also makes it easier to view education as a journey and not a path with a definitive end.
- Trust the process. Although everyone’s educational journey is different, it is still a process. It’s a process of learning what makes you happy, what you want out of a career, and even what you don’t want. It’s a process that involves putting in the work necessary to reap the reward. A process that, by going through it, provides more than just an education. It also provides an experience and, if you follow these suggestions, an enjoyable experience at that. So, sit back, relax, and trust the process to lead you wherever it is you want to go.
If your educational journey is in the healthcare field, UMA is here to help. We have a variety of program options for online, on-campus combined with online, and with practicum/externship experience. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you as you move through your journey, or to even help you select the path!