The T-Shaped Person: Building Deep Expertise AND a Wide Knowledge Base

I dunno about you, but I’ve never been content just having one interest. I’ve always dabbled in lots of things. Over the years, these things have ranged from swimming to drawing to 3D modeling to rock climbing to essay writing to online business (to name just a few). Throughout all of that, however, writing remained my focus, the thing that I would tell people I was “good at.”

What’s more, I realized that the people I admire were also, generally, into lots of different things, even while specializing in a particular area. Take Henry David Thoreau, for example. People remember him for his writings on nature (Walden) and politics (Civil Disobedience), but the dude was into history, biology, poetry, botany, travel, land surveying, and more.

It wasn’t until recently, however, that I learned there was a name for this phenomenon. I first came across it in an on the Buffer blog, and I’ve since seen it all across the internet (an example of the priming effect in action). What is this magical term? It’s called the T-shaped person, and I think it’s one of the most powerful concepts for anyone who wants to build a diverse skill set while still having valuable specialization. Read More…

Use the Dreyfus Model to Learn New Skills

If you read College Info Geek, I assume that you’re not interested in remaining static. You want to progress and improve yourself. Self-improvement can take a lot of forms, including getting up earlier and beating procrastination. But one of the most powerful forms of self-improvement, in my experience, is learning new skills.

Unfortunately, the process of learning new skills isn’t always clear. It’s easy to Google “learn yoga” or “learn to play the guitar”, but this sort of content can only take you so far. What you need is, and what I’d been searching for a long time, is an approach to keep you going once you get past the early stages of learning. I’m excited to report that I recently found such an approach, and I’m going to share it with you in today’s article. Read More…

A Beginner’s Guide to Library Research

Picture this: It’s 2 am, and you’re on your fifth cup of coffee (or was it the sixth?). You’re crouched at a table in some dark corner of the library surrounded by fifteen open books. Equally as many tabs are open on your laptop, and the clock seems to tick in time with the blinking cursor in the document of your barely begun 10-page paper that’s due in seven hours.

Sound familiar? I know I’ve been there. I hope you haven’t, but I bet you’ve at least been in a similar situation. There are a lot of things that can explain how you got to this point, including procrastination, poor organization, and a messy schedule.

But I think, very often, the problem is also a lack of research skills. I know that my formal training in the actual mechanics of library research was limited to a couple 1-hour sessions my freshman year. Beyond that, I just had to figure most of it out through trial and error. Read More…

How to Create a Great Study Space (With Examples)

Where do you normally study? If the answer is “lying in bed with my laptop propped on my knees while eating deep-fried Cheetos,” then you might want to consider revamping your study space.

And that’s what today’s post is all about. We’re going to look at how to create (or find) a study spot that lets you get in, do your best work, and then get back to having high density fun.

We’ll examine the different types of study spaces, the do’s and don’t’s of study space creation, and the key principles to make sure your study space does what it should: help you study better. Finally, we’ll give you some examples of study spaces that put these principles into action.

Because this is a pretty extensive guide, I’ve broken it up into section for easy navigation and reference. Click each link to visit the corresponding section:

Let’s get started! Read More…

A Beginner’s Guide to Getting Along With Your Roommate

Unless you attended Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, or shared a room with a sibling growing up, college is probably the first time you’ve ever had a roommate. Whether you’re literally sharing a bedroom with another person, or just sharing an apartment, living with a roommate is a whole new world compared to living with your parents.

And, really, it’s not something anyone ever talks about until you get to college. Sure, there’s the odd glimpse in college movies or maybe a weird story from one of your parents, but nothing can truly prepare you for the experience of coexisting in close quarters with someone who’s quite possibly a complete stranger. Read More…

How to Make Friends in College: A Comprehensive Guide

Do you remember the first friend you made?

The first person I consciously remember calling my “friend” (and later, “best friend”) was someone I met in preschool. I was probably four years old. We had similar interests, and complementary personalities (he was the big picture idea guy, I was the detail-oriented do-er).

As I’ve continued through life, my friendships have shifted. I’ve made new friends along the way, deepened my relationship with existing friends, and fallen out of touch with others. When you look at it this way, it seems like friendship is something that just “happens.” You can’t control it, it would seem, and maybe it’s better not to. After all, you can’t force friendship.

Yet, what I’ve come to realize in the past couple years is that while you can’t force or manufacture friendship, you can seek and cultivate it. It isn’t completely out of your control. In fact, since it’s such an important part of living a happy life, it’s something that you put on autopilot at your peril. Read More…

5 Alternatives to Traditional Employment

What do you see yourself doing after graduation?

If you’re a regular reader of College Info Geek, I’m sure you’re already dreaming bigger (and more specifically) than just “I dunno, get a job, I guess.” You’re considering things like where you want to live, what kind of living arrangements you want, what your future financial goals are, and overall placing your desired lifestyle above your desired salary.

Still, when most people consider their post-college plans, they usually come down to one of two things: pursue further education, or get a job at a medium to large company.

And there’s nothing wrong with either of these paths. Chosen and funded correctly, further education can be a fulfilling option that can increase your future job prospects and further your intellectual development. Likewise, a job at a Fortune 1000 (or similar established company), can be the beginning of a meaningful career path.

What a lot of students forget, however, is that there are other options. The path after graduation is not a two-pronged fork, each path a straight career trajectory that will determine the rest of your life. It’s more like a a bunch of squiggly lines that radiate out from the central point that is college, overlapping into a variety of infinite possibilities. Read More…

5 Ways to Travel More in College

When was the last time you traveled? And no, your spring break trip to Florida doesn’t count.

I mean, when was the last time you stepped outside of your comfort zone and visited a completely new place for more than just a vacation? When was the last time you explored, not just toured? For me, this is what travel is all about, and I think it’s one of the greatest opportunities for learning outside the classroom that exists.

In today’s post, I’m going to break down everything you need to know about traveling while in college. First, I’ll cover why you should travel during college. Then, I’ll debunk some common myths about college travel. Finally, I’ll get into some specific opportunities for travel during college, along with resources you can consult to learn more about each.

So grab your suitcase, put on your sunglasses, and let’s get started! Read More…

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