3 Myths of Aeronautical University Life – Part 3

Bill-McKnight-in-Lab-smallAs a former faculty member at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, I spoke to many students about their education and future career plans. There are some outlying reasons why students work at getting a higher education, but mostly it is because they want to do something special with their lives.

Yes, the chance to make more money is a great prospect, but being accomplished and adding value to their lives and their communities is usually a core motivator. So I advised my students that the best way  to become a valued professional is to give value to their education, and start becoming masters of their craft.

Choose any career in aeronautics – the formula is the same. A good student makes for a good worker. Why? Those who put the time and effort in now will almost always put the effort in later, guaranteed. So to clear the waters for those students who want to do the minimum, I want to debunk the last myth in our 3-part series.
If you missed part 1 or part 2 you will want to check them out.

Let’s dig in.

Myth #3 – “If I just pass my classes it will be good enough.”

This is not complicated, if you want companies to hire you after graduation you need to show them that you have what it takes to fill the position. They will be glad to know that you have a degree, and they may not even consider you without it, but having a piece of paper doesn’t automatically qualify you for the job. You actually have to know what you are doing. Sure you may lack a little bit of experience, but you’ll want to show them that you actually know the information that you went to school to learn.

Here are six simple tips to help you become a master of your craft while you are learning.

#1. Know your learning style

Each person has a way of learning that suits them best. Mind Tools uses The Index of Learning Styles (click to take the questionnaire) to explain this. There are four dimensions, and everyone finds that they prefer one method and dislike another. Not only can you use this to find out how you learn best, but can use it to determine areas where you might need some extra work. The goal is to be balanced. The more balanced you are, the more flexible you can be in your future career.

#2. Go to class, do the work

No surprise here, but you actually need to go to class. Number one, because someone (you or otherwise) paid cold hard cash for it. Number two, because it will provide you with the information you need and a community of people to support you. When you are given an assignment do it not just for the “A,” but to know the material. Lay the foundation here and use the following tips to fill in the gaps. I’ll stop here, because I’m not your parent, and it’s just not that complicated.

#3. Find learning hacks

It’s okay to find education hacks. Be a little unconventional if you need to be. Find ways to learn that complement your learning style. One of my favorites, and this shouldn’t come as a surprise is flight simulation. As a teacher I found that several of my students learned the material way better in the simulator then they did from the books.

Maybe you enjoy videos, check out the thousands of videos on YouTube. Flash cards (Quizlet.com), study groups, tutors. Use whatever method you prefer, but make sure to check the information you find outside of school with the material you are learning in your classes.

#4. Go beyond your comfort zone

You may be learning lots of new things, let’s be honest, aeronautics and aviation are not easy fields and there is a lot to learn, but still look for ways to stretch yourself. To be a master you need to know your field well. Take opportunities that will help you learn things that may take you into specifics instead of generalities. Get into details that others may gloss over.

You should also look for diversified opinions or teachers. You may find that one person has a different view  that will help you gain a deeper understanding of the subject.

#5. Practice as much as possible

Simple, yet indispensable: practice, practice, practice! The more you put into action now, the more comfortable and experienced you will be. This may take on many different forms depending on your focus in the field of aeronautics and aviation. If you are training to be a pilot, log a lot of flight sim hours along the time with your flight instructor. Whatever your focus, find ways to practice.

#6. Get involved

There are different ways to get involved on campus, but one of the best things you can do is join a relevant club. Clubs provide great community, and will give you a place to further your learning, bounce ideas off of other students in your field, and show that you are motivated. Other students and teachers will notice your attitude and commitment and it just might land you a job in the future – I speak from experience.

That concludes this three part series. We want to help you be a master of your craft. If you are training to be a pilot check out our private pilot training to give you that extra edge, and as always share this article wherever you socialize online.


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