Are You Taking the Right Course?

Sometimes simply having a degree isn’t enough; taking the right preparatory courses in life also matters.

(Image courtesy of Nate Shivar)


In his book, How Will You Measure Your Life?, Harvard Business Professor Clayton Christensen states,

“We know that people who fail in their jobs often do so not because they are inherently incapable of succeeding, but because their experiences have not prepared them for the challenges of that job--in other words, they’ve taken the wrong ‘courses.’ The natural tendency of many . . . is to focus entirely on building [their] résume . . . . It would be a mistake, however, to neglect the courses [they] need to equip [themselves] for the future” (p. 157).

Christensen suggests that you should figure out what success is and then plot the experiences you need to achieve that kind of success. Here are a few ideas on how to take the right “courses”:

  • Find a mentor and work with them (even if you have to volunteer for a while).

  • Take a job or internship that challenges you (intership website, student employment website).

  • Register for some courses outside your major that will help you fill gaps in your skill set or broaden your horizons.

  • Attend the weekly University Devotional or Forum (see the schedule).

  • Make time to serve on campus or in the community (check out the YServe Website for ideas).

  • Serve in your ward or congregation.

  • Follow the Honor Code, even when no one may be watching.

  • Take advantage of Study Abroad or other similar opportunities.

The foregoing suggestions should enrich your life’s journey, not derail your main course or postpone graduation. Allow these ideas to help you plan for experiences that will help you achieve your goals and succeed in life.

So, what “courses” do you think you could take? What advice might you offer your fellow students? Please share your thoughts in the Comments area below.