Original article published May 26, 2013 on momentum. It’s been almost a year since I graduated from college. I had an incredible four years at the University of Chicago and learned more than I ever anticipated. Now that it’s in the past, I wonder: What do I wish I knew before entering college that I know now? Here’s the advice I’d have shared with my 18-year-old self: Master the art of asking great questions. Questions are the driving force of learning. The faster you optimize your ability to learn, the faster you’ll get where you want to go.
When I took my first internship in publishing, I hoped to gain on-the-job training and valuable experience to put on my resume. A job offer was in the back of my mind. Even though I wanted to improve my prospects of employment in the future, the opportunity to gain skills was my main motivation. But for me (and all interns), these benefits are not a given; you only get as much out of an internship as you put in. To that end, here are five tips for how to maximize an internship you might pursue. Learn your industry. As a novice, the burden is on you to educate yourself in your field. As a working writer, I read everything from trade magazines to websites and blogs relating to issues about newspapers, publishers, the literary community, etc. (everything related to my field). It makes me more confident in my work to [...]
The headline of this month’s Harvard Education Letter is seductively simple: “Teaching Students to Ask Their Own Questions.” The advice is undeniably practical. But will asking questions alone suffice to create engaging classroom dialogues? The article highlights the Question Formulation Technique (QFT), a technique for encouraging students to direct inquiry in the classroom, engage with each other and develop critical thinking skills. A teacher whose students are under-engaged in the classroom would do well by her students to study the QFT technique and begin testing elements of it. If nothing else, QFT shows that “Any questions?” following a lecture will not provoke many questions. To engage students, questions must be engaging, too. Though effective, QFT is only half the equation. Students need to ask questions, yes. But they need to answer them, too. The teacher plays the role of guide, facilitator, and provocateur. Most teachers I had operated under the [...]
Learning an additional language is a lot like learning how to paint with colors after a lifetime of using grayscale. I took Spanish and French in high school, and then Russian at university. Each one has helped me re-experience a world that was only ever monolingual. When I was given the opportunity to practice my Spanish skills, I took it. That opportunity was going to Mexico. Although I had just graduated from college and had several years’ worth of studying the language, I still only spoke Spanish like a grade-schooler. Being humbled was the best learning experience of my life. It was as if I was given a second chance to learn how to walk and talk.
I want you to ask yourself a question. What does it mean to you to have a college degree? Some may say that it means they will have a better job or that they will be making more money. Others simply go because it was what was expected of them. Maybe to even attend the same school their elders did to keep with traditions. But genuinely, deep down, what will having a college degree mean for you and your life? Having a college degree does not guarantee a job, nor good pay. Especially not in this day and age, during which applicants are removing their well-deserved master’s degrees from their resumes to obtain entry-level positions. If this is what the economic downfall of the decade has in store, what is really the value? The truth is, I am writing an essay for a college course, and I came across an [...]
How to turn that NO into a YES (sort of): Rejecting College Rejections.