Ruben Kanya is a recent graduate from Brandeis University, holding a bachelor’s degree in Health: Science, Society & Policy. During his time at Brandeis, Ruben was a community advisor/resident assistant, personal trainer and NCAA basketball athlete. Since college, Ruben has been an entrepreneur working on his own projects and partnering with different companies in the health and fitness industry as a founder, marketer, brand ambassador and writer. He continues to do this prior to pursing his Doctor of Chiropractic degree in 2015.
Welcome to college and if you are just starting out you should note that this is the most important time of your life for you to work on your personal development and apply yourself. As a recent graduate, I can say college was a place of low risk and high reward. Life will not always be like this, therefore, take full advantage of this lopsided ratio and play it to your advantage. Attend every recital before you step on the big stage, because when it’s lights, camera, action your preparation will allow you to deliver Hollywood’s best hits, or in other words a degree with A LOT more to offer on the table.
College is certainly a place where adolescents have figured out who they are for the most part but have yet to realize their full potential. As cliché as it may sound, a more sexy way to put it would be to say that being in college is having made it past the auditions; you’ve been accepted into the community (or university) and have the potential and skill set to excel and do even more. Although this is the case, you’ve yet to be polished. Yes I’m talking about the make-up before you get on stage, and you get to choose the foundation that you pick, pun intended. Seriously, your foundation is what you are building. As you choose a major, minor, etc. you not only commit yourself to an expertise in a given subject, topic or issue in the world but you learn to collaborate with others that share the same views with you and with others who sometimes might be working towards complete opposite causes and goals – think of an automobile engineer versus an environmental studies major. The beauty is that with the right policies and structures put in place, individuals in complete different studies can one day collaborate to make the world a better place (environmentally friendly electric cars).
Enough about the sappy information, let’s talk about you because in the end, that’s what it’s about. It’s your degree and your experiences that you’ve given yourself that build your portfolio full of experiences to carry onto the stage. That being said, if you have the opportunity to socially emerge yourself in your community to learn things you wouldn’t have learned where you came from, taking a class you’ve never thought you’d take and talking to somebody you never thought you’d relate with – do so. Most importantly, it is the perfect time to take yourself out of your comfort zone, because those experiences then no longer become uncomfortable over time. Nobody wants to witness stage fright in the future. I am going to stress this once more: take yourself out of your comfort zone…With all the money that you are paying in college, it is worth every penny to take some of your time to be uncomfortable for a limited period of time. You’ll be glad you did so in the future. Which leads to my next point, if you ever think that “I don’t have enough time” to join a certain organization or be part of a short term experience or even long term commitment just think how much time you’ll have when you graduate. You’ll most likely have a full time job along with plenty more responsibilities thrown your way as you get wiser and older…you’ll have plenty more time then, right? No. So it is best to make time now, gain some experience or never take part in the opportunity and potentially miss a part of the puzzle that can literally be the pivotal point of your life or career. You may not realize now in your busy life between classes, assignments, dorm life and campus parties, but some of these simple experiences, remain significant when college is over, or when the recital ends. This is in no way supposed to sound anticlimactic, it’s quite the opposite, the many habits and skills set that you reinforce now will be easier to deal with in the future. Put it this way you’ll have had 4 years of experience already. That’s about 1460 days or 35,040 hours in total. Malcolm Gladwell mentions this in one of his best sellers The Outliers as the 10,000 rule. It takes approximately 10,000 hours in order to be an expert in a desired focus. Think about how many things you can be an expert in when you graduate…I hear an Oscar nomination around the corner.
The idea is to figure out what you want, figure out what your weaknesses are and definitely know your strengths. Continue to focus on those three things, using your strengths as an advantage without ever letting your weaknesses become obstacles that overshadow your strengths. John Wooden said, “Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” I hope that you will work on all those three and learn to network over time. You can be the smartest individual with the highest GPA (we need plenty of those individuals) but also learn to communicate with other individuals to share your wisdom or even team up with others to resolve problems or create solutions. There’s nothing like being able to communicate with the world about your expertise and in the future, being able to deal with different relationships. Luckily if you do focus on the three things mentioned above, including taking yourself out of the comfort zone, you’ll be killing two birds (or three) with one stone. Chances are you will only continue to interact and collaborate with others while building a network and developing your three areas of focus. College is your time; decide how you will be polished before you go up on stage, pick your foundation and go on stage to earn your Oscar.