What School can Teach us About the World of Work

svwThe key to getting good grades in school and to becoming a valuable asset in a company are quite similar, in fact…they are almost identical. Realistically we come to school to learn and apply the material (what we learn in class) to our own separate fields in the future. However, if we look more closely at this broad spectrum and magnify the actually structure of school and what it entails, we will find ourselves in an ‘alternate’ work environment.

Sure, you don’t have a boss at school telling you what to do, but that is what the prof is there for…guidance and regulation. Additionally, you don’t have colleagues that you may not always see eye-to-eye with, but you certainly have classmates. During the course of your classes, you will definitely have to work with in groups with them and produce something that will be graded…and chances are, you might not always agree with their views…but you pull through it. Lastly, no, you don’t get paid to go to school (most of the time, anyway), the opposite actually, but the only thing students look forward to as eagerly as their bi-weekly paycheck is when their grades are posted up on Minerva…which I would say, both of these actions are the ‘final reward’ of our most sincere efforts.

Let me explain this theory further. I’ve narrowed down a few key elements that will shed light on this notion, take a look for yourself:

School Work
You HAVE to go to class – on time – prepared (or else, you’ll probably fail!)


You should definitely make friends in your class and bounce ideas off one another.



Use your friends (not in a negative way). Say, you missed a really important test, you can easily ask them to borrow their notes or if you’re assigned to group work instead of reading all 4 chapters – split the work in half and swap ideas.


Stay in contact with your teacher – don’t add them on FB! But make sure they know you exist and ensure that they are aware that you are motivated and eager to learn!



You HAVE to go to work – on time – prepared (or you’ll probably get fired!)


You should definitely network and build strong connections at work in order to benefits and build your ideas as a team.


Use your colleagues (not in a negative way). In terms of professional development, coaching, training, etc. There will always be someone to learn from and you should always take advantage of someone trying to help you grow.


Stay in contact with your boss – don’t add them on FB! But make sure that they know your goals are in line with the company and that you are willing to grow and dedicate yourself to the company!

I graduated from the Education program at McGill two years ago; as I was completing my undergrad, I did take away many great resources, methods and ideas for my classroom, but the bulk of my knowledge came from what I grasped from the ‘entire learning process’ as a student. What I mean by that is my entire experience helped me become who I am today in terms of a worker…cramming for exams, reaching my set goals, organizational strategies, reaching deadlines and goals set by profs, getting along with others while time managing, evaluating myself, being evaluated, etc. What I am trying to say is that, while your classes are very important, your experiences and how you react to them are what will shape you. Students should be treating school as if it were work.

It is also very important to note that university is the starting line, not the finish line. This is the time you have to begin getting ready for your life after university. Setting your goals and having an effectual action plan is what is most important during this period…you need to structure your time, organize yourself and make sure you are realistic in doing so.

As many of you know and can probably relate to, being a student is a job on it own. So while the new session is on its way, try to think about this concept and be as committed to school as you would your future job. We tend to slack a little when it comes to the cold, dark, winter months, but would we be doing the same if we were on the clock? Stay tuned next month as I explain the importance of maintaining a healthy balance between school and work. Have a wonderful and relaxing break! We’ll be back at school before we know it, so enjoy every minute while it lasts!

Happy Holidays,


“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.”

-Vince Lombardi

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