What an astronaut, author, and 6 other leaders wish they'd learned in college

For many students, college is a worthwhile journey of academic and personal discovery.

But it can take a few decades for people to understand what lessons they learned—or didn't learn—while in school, Mark Abadi writes for Business Insider.

The publication reached out to six executives, an author, and a former astronaut to ask them what they wish they had known while in college. Here's what they said.

Arianna Huffington, chief executive of Thrive Global: You don't have to burn out to be successful in college, says Huffington. If she'd learned that lessons earlier, she says she could have been successful with more joy and less cost to her health and relationships, she admits.

Laura Vanderkam, author: Vandekam says she wishes she had taken better advantage of her college's resources and proactively connected with interesting students or speakers on campus. A typical student's schedule is flexible enough that they can use their free time to work on creative projects and build their portfolios, she adds.  

Randy Garutti, chief executive of Shake Shack: Students should explore interests outside of their majors, suggests Garutti. Even though he studied business, his favorite classes were electives about classic literature, he says.

Leroy Chiao, former astronaut: It takes more than hard work to be successful, says Chiao. Often, your relationships with other people will be critical to success, he adds. 

Amy Bohutinsky, chief operating officer at Zillow: Students should focus on what they hope to learn from their academic and professional experience, rather than landing a specific role, she says. Careers take twists and turns, so students should keep an open mind and learn from every experience, she adds.

Related: What success means to your students, in their own words

Dan Lewis, cofounder of Convoy: Lewis wishes he'd known that it's okay to take your time figuring out who you are. It's more important to "head in the right direction than to get there as fast as possible," he argues. 

Paul Yanover, president of Fandango: When students transition to the workforce, they have to learn to play the long game, says Yanover. He advises them to invest in their careers and look at the big picture. He also warns students not to forget to connect with your colleagues and take initiative to "drive your own success."

Maria Zhang, chief technology officer at Tinder: While pursuing her computer science degree, the lack of other female students and female role models made her "constantly question... [her] career choices," she says. She wishes she'd realized sooner that you don't have to "look the part" to succeed in the field you choose (Abadi, Business Insider, 2/1).

Also see: 3 ways to get more women into STEM

Next in Today's Briefing

The 15 best jobs in America, according to Glassdoor

Next Briefing

  • Manage Your Events
  • Saved webpages and searches
  • Manage your subscriptions
  • Update personal information
  • Invite a colleague