The biggest college investment should be in yourself

Human capital is the most beneficial way for students to further their careers

Students are important members of society. Therefore, it is important that ASU students are aware of how they can invest in themselves and opportunities that are specialized to their desired career.

The best way for students to promote themselves is to increase their human capital. This refers to an individual's unique abilities, experiences and skills that may or may not be taught in a traditional classroom.

A degree is full of endless opportunities, and it is important that students achieve good grades while utilizing the opportunities offered to them. 

By increasing human capital, students are investing in themselves by working hard in classes as well as being involved in extracurriculars and leadership experiences. It is important that students recognize the importance of college and put balanced effort into their academics and other activities. 

College is the perfect time for students to be motivated – every skill learned during this developmental time is an investment that will benefit them.

“College students are building human capital, increasing the productive capacity of the economy," Cara McDaniel, clinical associate professor of economics at ASU, said. "They are making investments that are difficult to measure (and) will be more productive individuals and increase the income of the economy in the future. ”

When students acquire new skills, it not only aids them in completing college, but it will also help them contribute to the workforce in the future. 

The ASU Library has plenty of books that are helpful for students looking for empowerment and self improvement. Young adults are the future leaders of tomorrow, which is why they should be aware of the value college holds — not just for the degree itself but for the life experiences gained along the way.

In addition, ASU has over 1,000 student organizations that students can tailor to their academic and professional needs.

Knowing important workplace skills and mannerisms can also elevate students' investment in a college degree. Although it may be difficult to build talents, hard work is a beneficial element of becoming successful.

"Life is about trade-offs, and if you want a job that pays well then that's probably going to be hard. You must be prepared to do the work and be prepared for the responsibility," McDaniel said.

When students enter the workforce, they should be confident about their skills and knowledge, so potential employers can be similarly confident in their abilities. 

"The value of your human capital is the value that an outside entity, like a firm, is going to pay you for, and some classes aren't fun and learning some things are hard, but those are the skills that are going to pay off," McDaniel said.

Students should be thinking ahead and focusing on what personalized traits they might need for their career path and strive to achieve them.

"College is really a time for investment, and you need to be thinking about what you are learning here and how it will help you in future," McDaniel said.

Human capital is a powerful investment that cannot be measured by a monetary value. If a person puts in the time and effort, the investment will reap infinite benefits.

Reach the columnist at or follow @ninalplunkett on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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