You may be a while away from needing this advice, but I found this so invigorating:
I’ll sum it up very quickly. Grades are not helpful in choosing great candidates for Google (or any employer, if they are doing things the right way). What matters are these skills:
- General cognitive ability, or the ability to learn: not I.Q., as that does not measure an individual’s determination or grit or anything beyond a few specific skills. Intelligence is in fact NOT a fixed attribute. It is grown, cultivated, and maintained over time. Your brain literally changes on a molecular level when you stimulate it. No matter what your fifth grade teacher may have told you, you have an infinite capacity to change things and kick butt.
- Circumspect leadership: when the poo hits the fan, can you step up and lead? When you are not the right choice to lead, can you step down and be a team member without drama?
- Intellectual humility: Stay teachable and take responsibility for your continued, lifelong learning. Be ready to teach and learn with all of your teammates. Even the lowly intern!
- Ownership: Learn how you learn, develop metacognitive skills, make yourself a joyful and willing learning machine! When you make a mistake, own up and correct it immediately and openly.
- Expertise: This is literally the least important because it is in fact a byproduct of the first four and the least lasting. You have to constantly renew your expertise, so maintain beginner’s mind. No ego!
“Your degree is not a proxy for your ability to do any job. The world only cares about — and pays off on — what you can do with what you know (and it doesn’t care how you learned it). And in an age when innovation is increasingly a group endeavor, it also cares about a lot of soft skills — leadership, humility, collaboration, adaptability and loving to learn and re-learn. This will be true no matter where you go to work.”