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What’s your take on the future of Higher Education?

What’s your take on the future of Higher Education?

Happy Friday everyone!

This article comes at such a convenient time for me – I had the pleasure of meeting Lafayette’s newest President yesterday, and she had so many fascinating things to say about the future of higher education and the resulting discussion on whether our degrees/education/experience/etc. has any form of quantitative market value. Additionally, she brought up the need to integrate new technologies with higher education models – using MOOCs as the obvious example. 

And that got me thinking – is that really what I want from my college? I can sincerely attest to the awesome nature of MOOCs – Coursera is one of my favorite websites, and I’ve been using Lynda.com to revisit some software models that I’m gotten rusty with. But at the same time, I think that there’s a lot to be gained from in-person discussion experiences. It’s one of the greatest things about my college in that perspective. 

I think that there are a lot of different takes on higher education models and whether some degrees are more useful over others – but ultimately that perspective leads to a damaging derailment of what college is. Yes, we all want degrees that provide market value and can further our careers. At the same time it’s important to remember that college should teach us more than that. Most of my greatest college experiences were outside the classroom experiences – through clubs, committees, and most often jobs. And this is probably the liberal arts student speaking to me, but I also think that the mentoring relationships that I’ve gained in college are equally as important as my other experiences. 

But I absolutely agree with Selingo’s point that some parts of the college experience are taken for granted. There should be a significant focus on career development, financial management, civic engagement, and even skills that should be general – language learning, computer and information literacy, and public speaking – that colleges should refocus into their curriculum. Students should be allowed to structure their college experiences, but it would be helpful if there were a set of base skills that they all had to learn. 

I think there will be a lot more revisiting in the future, but the ‘future of higher education’ isn’t quite what I’m worried about anymore – I honestly believe that many colleges are actively working to change their perspectives on what they can offer students. Unfortunately, we may be a risk for colleges being used as a substitute for the convoluted – and ultimately destructive – nature of the entire U.S. education system. Fixing one element of the problem may be a temporary fix, but it doesn’t get into some of the bigger problems – but I’ll tackle those in another post!

What are your suggestions for working/improving the world of higher education?

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What do you need to stop wasting your time on?

What do you need to stop wasting your time on?

I absolutely loved this article. I think its incredibly true to life, and points 20-25 hit me right close to home.

And while I think that one could go on forever, there’s one thing that at least for college students I believe is an important thing to stop wasting time on: 

Stop trying to get everything ‘right’: Unfortunately, you won’t get everything right. Whether it’s the right answer, the right question, the right idea, it happens. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to get things right at all, but change your approach from getting things right to understanding instead. What is it that you understand now? If you ask people why they want the right answer – most of us will chalk it up to grades. But at some point your experience won’t be measured in grades or quantitative evaluations, so focus on your internal progress, not getting the right answer.

So, what you think are big time wasters?

After College: 24 Things You Need To Know Before Turning 24

After College: 24 Things You Need To Know Before Turning 24

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of anything related to your 20’s, as I’ve written a whole post about positive things that 20 years old can do in the past. But I came across this post from After College a few days ago, and I just had to share it. Anyone in their 20’s should definitely check this out, as it’s a great guideline for how being in your 20’s is truly a case a trial-and-error for most of us. 

2014 Inspiration: 6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You A Better Person by Cracked

2014 Inspiration: 6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You A Better Person by Cracked

Happy 2014 everyone!

While I’m not always a big fan of reblogging “self-help” articles, I truly think that this one is something that everyone should read. I read this post from David Wong last year, and it was primarily my main inspiration to write a blog in 2013. It’s full of biting knowledge, but I definitely think that we’ll all be better off for reading it.

Finding your life manifesto

Nature

Nature (Photo credit: wot nxt)

What do you believe in?

Shane Snow over at LinkedIn posted a piece on motivation/inspiration. I was really taken by the post, as sometimes I feel that we’re not motivated enough within our lives. At times, we might need a reminder. I know that I do.

Usually, I post a reminder for myself of my goals for every semester, and then get stressed every time I don’t hit one of the marks. But recently, I decided to do something else instead. I created a manifesto for myself. I realized that if nothing else, I need to take a stand a remind myself of what really matters. My manifesto is a bunch of pictures, quotes, and statements that I’ve created over time to reflect who I am as a person. Near the end of the summer, I’ll post a picture for those who are interested.

Some of you by now are probably thinking “Well that’s nice for you, but how will I find whatever is the best manifesto or way of proving myself for me?” Don’t worry, I’d never leave you guys in a lurch. So here’s a few tips to find your life manifesto:

हिन्दी: Nature

हिन्दी: Nature (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. Ask a friend, and then map yourself accordingly.

How do your friends see you? Ask either a friend or family member what they think of you as a person, and decide whether that’s the kind of person you want to be. Be sure to talk to someone your trust, as you want a person who will give you a blunt and honest picture of who they think you are.

2. Record or monitor your self for a day

Spend a few days observing yourself and the kind of things that you seem to enjoy on a daily basis. If you find that you spent most of your time teaching others, walking and taking in the beauty of nature, or even perusing blogs, that might *hint hint* relate to your passions. You can expand those ideas into larger ones later, but this is a great step to deciding who you want to do.

3. Use visualization techniques

I’m a big fan of meditation. I use it for studying, working out, and personal downtime. Take a few moments to really sit down and visualize who you are and what you like to do. Think about the future, past, and all of the achievements you’ve had up until this point. Use this time to map up a life plan.

4. Start on your manifesto collage

Find pictures, quotes, arts and crafts, books, and ideas that relate to you and your aspirations. Choose things that fill you with joy and excitement. Make sure whatever you use that it’s something that truly relates to you, your goals, and your journey as a human being.

That’s all I have for now, but I hope this gave you a head start on finding your life manifesto. Remember that it should change and grow as you evolve as a person, so don’t feel confined into one area. Feel free to post any of your manifestos in the comments!

What Inspires Me: Jumping into the Unknown

What Inspires Me: Jumping into the Unknown

English: Morning mist on Lake Mapourika, New Z...

English: Morning mist on Lake Mapourika, New Zealand. Français : Brume du matin sur le lac Mapourika, en Nouvelle-Zélande. Deutsch: Nebel bei Lake Mapourika in Neuseeland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday I was reading LinkedIn, and noticed a few posts about a new topic: “What Inspires Me.” All of the posts are from a variety of LinkedIn influencers sharing their experiences and what motivates them to, well get up in the morning. And since I’m a big fan of the bandwagon, I’m sharing what inspires me, and I welcome others to share theirs as well.

Around this time about two months ago, I found myself lost. I was unhappy with my major, about to fail a class, thinking about transferring to another school, and most of all, I was tired of living. In my eyes, if I couldn’t get good grades – who was I? Why did I matter? I managed to salvage my failing grade into a B somehow, and left my school planning never to come back. Then I learned that a family member of mine was having health issues, and combined with trying to send (really throw) my brother off to college, it was a bit stressful.

But I realized, I couldn’t remain like this. And I really didn’t want to stay like this either. Initially I thought that my problems stemmed from being too overworked. In retrospect, I realized that instead of working in the places that mattered, I avoided these situations as a way to reinforce what was going on in my life. 

To combat this, I decided to intern at my local library. And strangely enough, that experience changed my career plans, self-esteem, and led me to realize what I’m focused on. Now I don’t recommend everyone to hit rock-bottom in the interests of finding themselves, but I’m glad that this happened to me. I said goodbye to my old study habits, my old perception, and my past understanding of myself as a person, and thought of who I am within the community.

Despite their natural beauty, the secluded val...

Despite their natural beauty, the secluded valleys along the Na Pali Coast in Hawaii are heavily modified by introduced invasive species such as She-oak. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And I truly believe that jumping into the unknown is the best thing that one can do. Don’t stay with being content, be happy. It’s OK not to know all of the answers, but it’s not OK to remain stagnant. Find the answers. Discover your problems. For me, it was studying. For others, it may reveal itself to be very different. Push forward in everything that you do. Don’t be stagnant. 

The Intern Anomaly

The Intern Anomaly

For all of you struggling college students out there, this link gives an interesting insight into internship opportunities related to the federal government. Personally, I believe that the logic could be similarly tied to non-profit and for-profit institutions as well. I’m currently participating in a non-federal virtual summer internship at the moment, and I’ve had to critically reflect on my time as an intern, and assess the level of experience I’ve gained working as a virtual and non-virtual intern (I’m also interning at my local public library this summer). In my opinion, the quality of an internship is absolutely tied to three factors:

1) the effort an intern is willing to make in a company/institution

2) the desire of the company to educate its interns

3) the ability between both parties to evaluate and revise their current procedures if any conflicts come up

Without all three of these options, I don’t believe that an internship can successfully take place. I was lucky that with one of my internships this summer, I felt that I could carefully discuss matters with my supervisor if any issues or conflicts arose. Plus, the general experience of helping people led me to realize what I wanted to pursue in a career, and influenced my decision to apply to graduate school for library and information science.

At the same time, I believe that completing a variety of internships is the best way of figuring out exactly what you want to do. It’s a way of understanding the trials, joys, and ultimately disappointments that come with working in a professional atmosphere. While I may have done things a bit differently if my life situations had been less complicated, I believe that all students should have a mix of physical and virtual internships, especially for those of us who can’t afford to travel long distances or pursue unpaid opportunities during the summer.

What do you all think?