There are several undeniable facts about working and studying in college. One is that people have to write papers no matter what their major is. Another is that many students will most likely have to give at least one presentation. The last undeniable fact is that students will also most likely have to work with some sort of application in the context of statistics, math, or more simply, numbers.
There are several essential software applications everyone should have in college. MS Office is one of them. Microsoft office has helped me in college tremendously in the areas of work, school, and play. Without Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Microsoft Excel, I don’t think I would have made it to my senior year. That being said, there are loads of other word processing programs etc, so if you don’t have access to Microsoft, don’t worry. However, if you can get it and use it, you should.
Microsoft Word is useful, simply because in college students are constantly writing. I’ve written term papers, essay tests, research papers, reflective papers, position papers, plays, short stories, and more all on Microsoft Word. When one considers that I’m a business major, it becomes a pretty startling amount of papers. No matter what major one is, chances are he or she will have to write at some point, and may end up writing quite a bit.
Microsoft Word helped me most of all outside of an academic setting. Every post I’ve made on this site originated in Microsoft Word. MS Word helped me with spellchecking, grammar checking, and even provided some great synonyms from the Thesaurus when my mind went blank. I’m pretty positive I’d make some boring repetitive posts filled with spelling errors if I didn’t have Word bailing me out.
I learned about the saving grace that is PowerPoint in my first ever business class. I was put with a group of four other people, and we had to do a whole presentation about a company and corporate social responsibility. The group was made up of the typical over-achiever, the slacker, and then just a few average students (I being one of them). The over-achiever was true to her namesake, while the slacker was true to hers.
This actually worked out, because I was able to take all the information that had been gathered by the over-achiever and the other average student, and put it together into a nice PowerPoint presentation. Since that class, I’ve had to make many more presentations by myself. I am always sure to check if PowerPoint is an option. For me, PowerPoint allows me to focus my ideas, and stay on track while dealing with the nerves I get from talking in front of large groups of people. Without PowerPoint, I just might be an English student.
Excel has been the cause of a lot of controversy in my college career. I had to take an Excel business course, which was hard, but I did quite well. That being said, I hated using Excel for hours on end and waking up daily to walk to that class. Whenever I took an accounting class, I hated using Excel. For some reason, that application just brought out the worst in me, and I dreaded having to go out into the business world and use it all the time. My continued hatred of Excel lasted until someone made an ingenious spreadsheet that helped me become more successful at a video game.
At the risk of causing any confusion, I’ll just come right out and admit that I’m a bit of a “nerd.” I play World of Warcraft (Yes, against my own GPA killer advice). Basically, some WoW fan decided to make a spreadsheet for Priests that helps calculate weather a certain type of gear is an upgrade or not. When you are as into WoW as I have been, you want to be the best you can be, and this spreadsheet did just that. Excel may be one of the more frustrating applications I’ve come across, but when used to its full potential (by someone who knows how to write good formulas) it can be a tremendous asset (either in school, work, or Azeroth).
Reflecting back on my time so far, I really don’t go too long without at least opening a Microsoft Office application. I am also still discovering new Microsoft Office applications that help me. In fact, in my internship this summer, and the company I work for makes extensive use of Outlook. With it, I’m able to e-mail anyone else in the company, have meetings automatically scheduled, and make my own to-do list that I can cross items off of when I complete them. However, for my home e-mail, I’m still all about Thunderbird and Firefox. The fact remains, that for someone like me, who’s going into the business world, knowledge of Microsoft Office is quintessential. Microsoft Office has made my college life easier, and so if you aren’t using it to its full potential, figure out how you can.