20-person Poll: What's the most important thing students learn at college?


Forty of the world’s brightest students have been in Dublin this week for the inaugural Undergraduate Awards Summit, which describes itself as a Davos for students. They have taken part in talks and workshops, including Batman v Einstein: Are Academics the New Superheroes? and Unleashing Your Inner Misfit. asked 20 of the students about the most important things they have learned at college.

Andrew Barratt

From London, attends Durham University

“I learned how to think independently and how to learn.”

Alex Mansell

From West Midlands; Durham University

“You can learn something inspirational from every lecture, every seminar and every night out.”

Stefano Giulietti

From Tuscany; Yale University

“I learned to relate to people of all nationalities with different academic interests.”

Niall Colbert

From Mitchelstown, UCC

“I learned to bring out the divinity that is within oneself and bring it to the outside world.”

Pang Wei Koh

From Singapore; Stanford University

“Science is messy. The books show you how to do things right, but you will do it wrong plenty of times before you get it right.”

Marie McDonnell

From Mayo; Sligo IT

“It’s good to listen and work together with peers and not to be afraid of a challenge.”

Philip Rea

From Belfast; Queen’s University Belfast

“Read everything you can get your hands on, even if it’s outside your discipline.”

Isaac Burke

From Mayo; NUI Galway

“If you come with an open mind and willingness to learn, university can give you incredible chances for self- development.”

Andrew Molas

From Toronto; University of Toronto

“I learned to think independently. The diversity of university opens your eyes to new ways of thinking.”

Tiffany Harte

From Lincolnshire; St Andrews

“The only way to be happy with yourself is to find what you love and go for it no matter what anyone else says.”

Hanting Por

From Montreal; McGill University

“Learned to have a good brain, but what that is can be open to interpretation. In the real world you don’t get time to think any more.”

Robert Nielsen

From Galway; UCD

“It encouraged me to think outside the box. Don’t just go for established norms. Be imaginative.”

Louise Sayers

From Belfast; Durham University

“I learned how to balance my time. Try and do as much as you can in first year. Find something you love and go for it.”

Sophie Splawinski

From Montreal; McGill University

“I learned to make connections with students, but especially with professors.”

Lewis Hou

From Edinburgh; University of Edinburgh

“Variety is the spice of life and college is not all about academia.”

Felicia Cucuta

From Romania; University of Edinburgh

“Openness is very, very important. Openness helped me to adapt quite easily and I wasn’t afraid to speak out.”

Alexander Karapetian

From London; Imperial College London

“Everyone will be intelligent, so there will be a fear of inferiority, but it’s not what you can do, but rather how you can communicate it. There will always be people better, but they can’t do it your way.”

Neasa O’Callaghan

From Roscommon; NUI Galway

“I learned the importance of having an open mind. It’s important to be attentive and nonjudgmental to the people you meet.”

Danielle Boobyer

From London; St Andrews

“I’m still in university, so I’m still learning. I love biology, though, so I’m learning to take the application of biology and bring it into the real world.”

Eleanor Friel

From Dublin; Trinity College Dublin

“Everyone is doing so many things, but you always meet people doing things unique to them. I’m constantly amazed by what they can achieve.”