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NO CATEGORY / 14 December 2016
What College Students Can Learn from Grey's Anatomy
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Crystal Huang

Two days ago, the world anguished on social media as their beloved character, Dr. Derek Shepherd, from the hit TV drama, Grey’s Anatomy, was killed off.  I remember thinking as it showed him dying that "wow...that is the crappiest way for a leading character to leave the show!" But as I thought a little more about how and why this story was written (by awfully clever writers), it hit me that there was a deeper lesson to learn from this perhaps "insignificant-to-life" television event. So here’s what I truly believe we all can, especially college students, take with us through this end of a journey for Dr. Derek Shepherd. 

 The doctors are Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital (in the TV show - Grey’s Anatomy) were great doctors. In fact, most of them were renowned internationally and despite that, they never became complacent but kept striving to be better! Not only that, it was undeniable that they were passionate about their jobs and truly cared about the well-being of their patients, sometimes over their own. Contrast that with the doctors who worked on Dr. Shepherd. Right off the bat, they wanted to turn the patient away, citing lack of skills and resources. The patient was cut into several times before they realized they missed checking his head injury more in detail - aka lack of skills/experience. The neurosurgeon was at dinner while being on-call, failed to rush to the hospital and instead took a whole hour and a half to stroll into the operating room. Would it have made a difference if these surgeons knew they had an internationally-renowned surgeon in their hands? 

Young people start their college career in the hopes of exploring life and finding out what is it that will make them be a significant individual in this great, big world. Often times, college students get sidetracked or procrastinate this incredible journey of exploration of life they can embark on as soon as they enter college. Too often, they jump into a major quickly, without fully understanding what it takes to be successful in that career field. Then, they wait till it’s almost time to graduate before they take their first internship - a crucial step in test-driving the career path they had invested so much time and resources into. By then, it is often too late to switch majors. They enter the career path and do one or two things. They become good at their jobs or trudge to work each morning with a feeling of dread and obligation. Half of those who are good at their jobs become complacent and work merely to collect their paycheck and bonuses due. They still make a good living and are satisfied with the progress they’ve made since graduating from college. A quarter of the other half don’t continue to improve on their skills and soon fall behind. 

To those who are going to college or in college, don’t wait! Don’t wait until you have spent years studying about a subject only to realize you hate it! Don’t wait until you have an internationally-renown surgeon lying on your operating table, figuratively speaking, and realizing you have messed up and killed a brilliant mind because of your inept skills. Don’t wait to learn and continue to improve yourself!  Start today! Do everything in your power to learn and experience different career paths and passions. Don’t stay narrow in your career path! Broaden your skills (like learning SEO!) and learn the ins and outs of your chosen profession. Here is a list of what great college students do to advance their careers. It was interesting to note that while Dr. Shepherd’s specialty was neurosurgery, he still understood what the general surgeons needed to do in all other aspects. Let’s take a public relations specialist for example - companies are actively looking for PR specialists who are not only good at everything PR-related but who can also analyze data and use that data to forecast trends and behaviors of the people they are trying to reach out too. With technology growing rapidly and cross-merging, it is no longer sustainable to just be good at what you do. Nowadays, to be great at what you do, you have to be good at a variety of skills that will allow you to adapt to such changes and be a diversified force to reckon with. 

But don’t stop there! Don’t just be good at what you do! Be great or even awesome! You don’t just become awesome by going to class, taking exams, applying for jobs, and crossing your fingers that you get that Google job. You become awesome by taking charge of your life today! Research the fields you want to get into, get actionable experiences (not admin or coffee errand boy/girl), and figure out if this is what you really want to do! Once you’ve figured out what you want to do, design your career path!  Don’t just stay comfortable in the skills you think you need to know. Step outside your comfort zone and explore other skill sets. You never know when you will need them and trust me, you will need a good understanding of different skills at some point in your career! Once you are in your chosen field...never stop learning! Continually update your skills and network, network, network! Lastly, do not just be best in your team, department, or company! Strive to be the best in your field! Be the Derek Shepherd of whatever it is you do! 

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