The One Word That Hurts Students' Careers The Most

The single biggest change students can make to move their careers forward quickly is to stop calling themselves students.

Being a student often limits what young people think of themselves and their own capabilities. There is an understanding that if you are a student you are only learning, not actually doing. By standard definitions, being a student requires no action.

I looked the definition up on Google: Student (n.) – a person who is studying at a school or college. It denotes someone who is studying in order to enter a particular profession. A person who takes an interest in a particular subject.

So, you’re a student. That means you’re interested in some field and study it from an academic perspective. Boring.

And we wonder why “students” have a hard time getting hired?

Why would a company want to hire a person that spent four years only studying a profession?

Students have to stop tacking their desired field on to the word “student” as an adjective (ie. Management student). We ought to consider our fields (ie. Marketing, Entrepreneurship, etc.) to be verbs. Seeing your major as a verb inspires and requires action. You better actually go do something.

Yes, you’re still studying as you go. Yes, you’re probably going to make more mistakes because you won’t know all the theory yet (if that helps anyway). Yes, you’re going to feel embarrassed, bewildered, lost, exhausted and humiliated at times because you will be working with people that have decades more experience than you.

But at least someone will want to hire you when you walk off the stage at graduation.

Today, we’re getting rid of the word student for one reason. How you speak about yourself matters.

By changing your words, eventually your actions will follow. Stop calling yourself a student and you’ll begin seeing yourself as more than a student. Eventually, you will begin to believe you can actually do something competitive with other professionals.

You won’t be at their level immediately. You should be learning your entire life. Just don’t let all of your learning come from books and a classroom.

The biggest problem students have today is the idea that the designation of “student” somehow means that your only job for four years is to go to class and work at a restaurant to be sure you don’t incur too much debt along the way. No one wants to hire you for being a student for four years. “Completing college” isn’t remarkable anymore.

Entrepreneurship students, go build. Marketing students, develop marketing materials and go sell something. Computer science students, develop and ship a product.


1. Throw “student” out the window. 

2. Feel nauseous for a while. 

3. Get to work.