“I can’t, I’m busy.” My peers and I use this line often when asked to do something. Yet, what does it mean to be busy? At times, it means “to do a lot of activities” – from homework to clubs to volunteering.
My thought is that the more I am involved in opportunities outside of school, the more marketable I am to employers. Moreover, if I am not as busy as possible, I am afraid that I am doing a disservice to myself. But is just doing busy work actually valuable? Or is experience better than education?
Are u busy busy or just busy?
As a college student, it feels that “busy” is a synonym for competency or job readiness. We are encouraged to be in multiple clubs, have a title in the clubs, and focus fully on getting good grades in our classes. Then twice a year, we use these skills, dress up and go to Career Showcase to compete for summer internships. If we do not follow this plan, we are indirectly told that we are not marketable.
Beyond being busy, as students work towards graduation and our first job, it is apparent that “being busy” is not enough. We need to have specific skills that the current education system does not provide us. We need to move from doing busy work to actually managing time effectively.
Right here is the issue of the “busy gap.” Students do not just need a colored resume to get a job after college, they need to be impressive on and off the paper. We need to show critical thinking, collaboration, leadership, and communication skills outside of school-related activities to obtain the careers we desire.
Is experience better than education?
How does one gain the experience that employers are looking for? College jobs for students is the best way. Securing a part-time job throughout college helps us gain these skills. Moreover, by balancing work, school, and clubs, it shows that we are accountable. Beyond the important skills gained, statistics even suggest that those that work 10-15 hours per week are more likely to succeed in college than those that do not.
Currently, I am a sales development representative at The Selling Factory. When I first interviewed for the job, I never realized how much I did not know about the business world. With every client, a project comes with an explanation of the company that I support, and why the work that I am doing is necessary for their growth. I have been able to ask questions about the work I am doing, and I have a full understanding of the importance of my tasks. It is more than a resume builder. I have been fortunate to find a place and a position as a sales development representative that offers both work experience and value to my career goals.
Being involved as a leader on campus is great, but if we cannot apply those skills in a real work environment, all that time spent doing “busy work” is a waste. That being said, I fell victim to the “busy gap.” I know the work I am doing on campus can only get me so far. Being an involved student is important and can provide some real-world experience, but there are limits to its benefit. Finding work experience outside of school exposes you to real-world organizational practices and teaches you how to manage time better.