University is undoubtedly the best place to learn. And while you can learn loads from your current course, you may learn even more by taking external modules in other subjects.
Before you dismiss this as extra, unnecessary work, let’s discuss the benefits of studying external modules.
It can be tempting to stay with what you know. It’s family, safe and reassuring, so why would you want to study something new?
Well, learning new things strengthens your brain chemistry. With every new skill you learn, you stimulate more neurons in your brain and help more neural pathways to form.
But it can also help to fight boredom. Taking an external module in a different course might be just the challenge you’re looking for if you’re finding your current degree not satisfying enough. Note how I say challenge. It might be daunting to try something completely different, but you may find it to be very rewarding.
One main reward is your opportunity to learn new things. This could be particularly beneficial if your external module supplements your current course.
For example, if you’re taking a literature module which focusses on prominent Enlightenment thinkers Rousseau and Voltaire, it could be helpful to study a history module about the Enlightenment period. The literary and historical contexts may overlap and add nuance to your understanding of both subjects.
Conversely, you could really push yourself by taking an external module in something completely different. It won’t be easy at first, but you will find yourself growing as an individual.
If you’re unhappy in your present course, then an external module is something different that you may prefer. In fact, if you like it more, you could always transfer onto that course.
It goes without saying that, by taking an external module, you’re going to meet new people. Depending on the nature of the course, these people could be completely different to any you’ve met before.
This will then be the perfect opportunity to make new friends who can help add nuance to your own worldview with their new perspectives. They could teach you a lot about yourself, as well as introducing you to new potential career prospects.
CV and interviews
Describe a difficult situation and how you overcame it is one of the most common questions you can be asked in a job interview. A great answer to this is how you took an external module. It will demonstrate to employers that you are not afraid to try new things or take risks.
It also shows how you take initiative and how you are a problem-solver; rather than complaining about how much you dislike your course, you did something to improve your situation.
Why not give an external module a go? If you like it and it helped you, then great! If it doesn’t, then at least you gave it a try.
As Mark Twain once said: “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do then the things you did do. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Originally published on Inspiring Interns