6 ways to keep learning (even if you don’t have an internship)


Entrepreneur = Lifelong Learner.

While it’s tempting to spend all of your time outside of class binging House of Cards and letting the world go on around you, there’s so much opportunity to REALLY push yourself forward. After all, most of the important stuff is learned outside of class anyways.


We say it at SPUR all the time: doing is the best way to learn.

Internships are the epitome of learning by doing. They give you short-term real world experience, and long-term career connections. Unfortunately, there are only so many internships available in your field. And the search becomes harder if you are looking for those that pay (because, let’s face it, we have bills and it is hard to do things for free all the time).

So what if you didn’t get an internship this semester/summer, maybe you were late to game, maybe you didn’t get to try because you were preoccupied with your part time job, school, thinking about your next business idea? Trust me I’ve been there… The good news is, just because you don’t have internship doesn’t mean you shouldn’t and can’t keep learning!

Here are 6 other ways to learn by doing to get ahead in the game of life.

  1. Get a Mentor(s). In college, it’s ridiculously easy to find mentors. I had several teachers, older students, and even recent graduates that I turned to for help. The best thing is you can ask a mentor anything: questions on current projects, how to improve upon past ones, concerns about a new opportunity, even how to do taxes. Sometimes, it’s just nice to talk over coffee about life updates and new favorite books. via GIPHY

    Speaking of books...

  2. Read a Book. Listen to the experts and READ something. And yes, we recommend physical books so you can make notes and highlight. The act of marking up and taking notes will help you retain the content. Cause let’s be honest, you only want to read a book once. P.S. One of my favorite books suggested to me by an entrepreneurship professor is Change by Design by Tim Brown.There is your first suggestion!
  3. Shadow Someone. This is most common in the medical field, but you can do it for every industry. Ask your mentors, family, and close friends if they know anyone you could shadow.
  4. via GIPHY

    Use your student card! (There are so many advantages of this, but let’s not get into that.) When you reach out to someone, tell them you are student and would like to see what a day in the life of “you name it” looks like. Then, go learn by observing others. Come prepared with questions, and take a notepad and pen to write down what you learn.

  5. Take an online course. Strangely enough, college limits your ability to take the courses you actually want. You’re restricted to taking what’s required by your major. Thankfully, there are tons of online options where you can cherry-pick the perfect subject. Finding courses that get don’t teach you theory, but instead give you experience is key.
  6. via GIPHY

    Our course, FirstGear, jumps you right into building your startup. Other courses train you specifically on a certain skill, like photoshop or coding, and usually are more affordable than tuition.

  7. Teach Someone. You slave away hours a week to learn a subject in class, and for what? To complete a multiple choice test & purge your brain of everything you learned to cram the next subject in? What a waste! The best thing that you can do is to use that knowledge as soon as possible.Teach what you learned to someone else and you’ll truly master the subject. Explaining concepts in your own way challenges your brain at a whole new level. And we all love an opportunity to inspire someone.
  8. Journal. No matter where your learning journey leads you, you should document as much of it as you can. Journaling is the great way to learn from yourself. Taking a deep look inward can lead to some of the biggest revelations.
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    If you’re telling yourself you don’t need to journal because you’ll remember it anyways, you’re lying. The brain has a way of purging info that it doesn’t deem necessary at the time. But what if it’s necessary later and you just don’t realize it?

These 6 way of learning by doing are guaranteed to put you ahead of the curve. Even if you just take up ONE of them, you’re further ahead than you were before, and typically, one merges into another. With as much as you learn in school, a lot of that info is just not applicable in the real world. It’s up to you to take matters into your own hands to pave your path forward.