You finished your college search and finally made it to what you were told would be the best four years of your life. Among the stress of finishing homework and rushing to meet deadlines, it’s easy to forget some of the opportunities that college affords you. Instead of trying to survive credit to credit, semester to semester, here are four tips to enhance your experience. 1. Go to Class & Talk to Professors
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.
You’ve probably heard rumors about the school I attended. The school named the “Top Party School” in the U.S. by Playboy in 2002 and remains in the top 10. The school that had a sex scandal involving the student body vice president. The school that’s easy driving distance to both Las Vegas and Rocky Point, Mexico. Arizona State University. I wasn’t a partier in high school, yet I ended up at an infamous party school. Before starting, I got a lot of “Hey, isn’t that a huge party school?” from friends and family. After classes began, it didn’t change much. My answer then (and still is): “Any college can be a party school. You make it what it is.” Sure, at ASU you could find a frat party pretty much any night of the week. The bar scene on Mill Avenue and further north in Old Town Scottsdale is a [...]
America’s students today face tremendous financial challenges across the board when it comes to their education. Yet, the opportunities to go abroad are still there for the taking, despite financial constraints. I’ve always believed that true learning comes from the global classroom that is the world around us, not just within the walls of a classroom. The nearly half-dozen international programs in which I participated during college convinced me that only through first-hand experiences could I truly understand the world’s challenges. Through programs in Germany, Italy, Greece and Guatemala, my time abroad guided me toward the perfect major (international studies), exposed me to the tremendous challenges of marginalized groups, helped me develop skills to carry out ethnographic research, and reminded me that some of the greatest teachers on Earth are the people we meet on the street.
As we enter college, few of us are prepared for the lifestyle change it entails. A key factor to remain successful in college is to enjoy the time that you are there. If you are miserable, then it will most certainly reflect in both your grades and your attitude about the experience. What are your hobbies and interests? Incorporating these things into your academic life will prove to be much more enjoyable and help you set goals and work toward achievement in many disciplines. Start by looking for clubs and student organizations that fit with your values and interests.
The Ph.D. candidate who specializes in philosopher Jean Baudrillard ‘s theory of hyperreality in graphic novels. The English lit master’s student who studies post-structuralism in Marcel Proust’s Swann’s Way. The undergrad majoring in 19th century French poetry. These hardworking, passionate scholars regularly face the same dreaded question: “What are you going to do with that?”
More and more, we’re hearing stories of college students learning the ins and outs of business not from a book, but from getting out there and doing it on their own campuses.
I think that volunteering on a political campaign is an excellent experience before college and/or during college. I’ve done all three and I can’t emphasize enough what a great experience volunteering on a campaign can be.
I can’t identify a key moment or event that pushed me in that direction, but around the beginning of my second year at Oxy, I made a conscious decision to explore the Jewish and Christian faiths through student groups on campus.