College years provide a space for students to develop both hard and soft skills. Students learn about their fields of study, but also how to work in groups, to listen, to develop multicultural skills, etc. College also helps students develop their sense of morality.
There are often discussions about theory-to-practice in student affairs and how it can be beneficial for students to have the opportunity to gain real life experience. These usually take two different forms: disciplinary internships and service learning or volunteer work.
Internships Teach Students How to Help
When students engage in specialized work directly linked with their areas of study, they have the opportunity to apply what they have learn, learn from mentors, and bring fresh ideas into a professional milieu. Essentially, most of these professional settings are structured around the idea of providing a product, service or expertise. In that sense, students are taught how to help; how to use their advanced knowledge in a field to produce an outcome that will be meaningful to others. They have the knowledge and skills to help others that have very specific needs.
Service Learning and Volunteer Work Teach Students How to Serve
I would argue that students who want to also develop soft skills should engage in service learning and volunteer work. In these settings, the student comes in with little expertise and knowledge often times. The student has to listen and ask questions to understand how he/she can be of assistance. The people he/she is serving are really the experts of their situation; only they know what they need.
In a nutshell
Young professionals should be equipped to make a difference in organizations by helping them and their constituents, but they should also be willing to serve. They should be able to pause and listen to their needs and expectations and let them show them what they need and teach them how they can be of assistance.