Archive for November 2015

Higher Learning at College and University

November 4, 2015

College and University are excellent ways to further your education. First of all, without a diploma or a degree, the chances of finding a job that pays more than minimum wage are not very high. Yes – there are exceptions, such as those extremely gifted in music or art or sports or some other area who are propelled to fame and fortune. They are rare. Most people who pursue college or university are goal oriented towards a professional life. Not only are they directed there, but they are getting the necessary qualifications to make it happen.

The subjects you study teach you important information about your major. Some is more the philosophy or theory while some is the practical application of knowledge towards an area being studied.  It makes sense. You want a job that requires a degree, you must study and take courses in that subject. What you learn while you are at a place of higher learning is the real reason for this post.

Management of time and resources

Most students must work part-time while they pursue their education. They have to balance schedules. They are responsible for an important skill that if mastered can be applied to any area of life. If this skill is not acquired, they will not be able to keep a job. Literally it means checking schedules in advance – recording important assignments or tests in their agendas. It may mean turning down an extra shift at work because assignments are due. It may mean saying no to a party invitation. Their social life might be juggled in with their school and their work schedules. It might mean their spending has to be budgeted because of this. They have to make due with funds until their schedule frees ip. They are learning. It indirectly has to do with school, yet what they are learning is as valuable as the diploma.

Reliability

In college and university, students could choose not to attend classes or come late or leave early. You may believe this is a no brainer – but of course students realize, if they do not attend class, they will not pass. Truly if the student were eager and studied and read the chapters and did the assignments, there would be a chance – a good chance of passing. Students who skip classes are not those type a of students. Getting the information from their instructors and being given the opportunity to get one on one help from an expert in the field is important. We have to learn the value of those with education and expertise and learn to press in to them so we can get as much knowledge as possible from them. Hopefully, one day we will have the education and training experience to be those others can count on.

Organization – Keeping organized is a pretty big thing for most students. They have between 5-9 classes (depending on their field) and they have got to be able to keep their notes, papers, schedules etc. This seems so simple, but it isn’t. In higher education, the ability to multitask and coordinate classes etc. is a skill all its own. The teacher is not seen everyday, so the student has got to take initiative in learning. The student must make an effort to keep up tp date.

Teamwork – often there are group activities or projects where the student’s participation affects all of the group. It is important to be able to speak with peers about course topics as well as learn to cooperate with different types of people. In the workplace this is the norm.

Communication skills – Learning to write academic and work place documents is necessary and expected by all employers. The documents themselves, learning to use the computer software, learning to follow guidelines and templates and do research and apply research – all skills related to assignments directly but not graded. Yet if these things should lack in any area, the grade will be directly affected. Learning appropriate language or discourse structures for the discipline are also a part of this. It isn’t until you are with experts in the field of study that proper terminology is used and you become familiar with it. Many international students who have a degree from their home country still take courses in Canada because the terminology is all new to them. Learning proper professional etiquette (ethical and legal) is an important aspect  to be added. To know what should be done because it is the right thing to do is important. also important is knowing legal implications if one does not do the right thing. This realm of understanding the requirements of the field of study is rarely mentioned as something learned in higher education.

Taking responsibility

Ultimately the student has got to accept the grades received and know why they are as they are. Students have to understand they are directly responsible for their learning and their grade. They have to take ownership of their input and their outcome. This is something not all students understand but  good ones do. Instead of blaming the teacher or the class, or anything or anyone else, the students have to realize their importance in school – in life – is determined by their effort, their outlook, their effort.

These are only some of the skills that can be learned while pursuing higher education. They are related to studies but indirectly – rarely are they marked or rewarded, but if mastered, the student has a foundation for success.