Thursday, October 13, 2011

University's Hidden Classroom

Welcome back readers! I hope midterm season is treating you well! Midterm season is a fantastic contrast and backdrop to this week's topic of discussion - university's hidden classroom.

Let's face it, all of us came to university for one reason and one reason only - to get a degree. Yes, you came here to do something most students hate to do and that's STUDY. Worst part of it all is that you're paying to do something you don't really want to do, all in the name of getting that name brand degree. As sad as this may seem, there is another side to university education and the grass is definitely greener.

Contrary to popular belief, university is not all about studying and memorizing textbooks. I believe the main goal of university is to broaden one's horizons and studying is just one way to do that. The university experience is really organic in the way it seems to naturally push students to experience new things and awaken their passions. I honestly believe it takes more effort sheltering yourself from this side of university education than to embrace it.

I can confidently say that most of my learning has taken place outside of the classroom; it's come from this "other side" of my university experience. To illustrate the importance of embracing this "other side" I will use myself as an example. I'm a naturally social person and I like meeting people. I turned this like into a learning and growth experience by getting involved in opportunities that allow me to do what comes naturally and turn it into something I love. There are many things that I could have gotten involved in but I chose marketing and event planning in the end. Despite my double major in English & Psychology I am now actively pursuing a career in Social Media and Advertising while being involved in an upcoming event services company. All the skills and knowledge that allow me to do this I gained from my extracurricular activities and not from my textbooks.

With that said, I see university as an adventure because you never know where it will take you - sure it's great to have everything planned out and I bet some of you do, but if you don't that's okay. You can't learn everything out of a textbook, most things are learned from experience and trying new things. I'm not saying you HAVE to get involved in school - I'm saying you should be involved in something outside your textbooks. In my experience finding a creative outlet for your passions helps keep some perspective on the world while leading you to some interesting places.

If you're looking for suggestions on where to start I suggest finding a campus club or interest group that suits what you like or something that you think you want to try. Don't be afraid to try new things! I guarantee you there is something for any type of interest on this campus - everything from a plethora of musical interest groups (bands, jam sessions, DJ-ing, music appreciation clubs) to a group dedicated to jump over things and climbing walls in the form of the Parkour Club. There are plenty of opportunities on campus to try something new or even take some leadership - trust me, do it and you won't look back.

Tell me what you think! - do you agree with me about the importance of learning outside the classroom or do you think you should just study hard and all of the extra stuff does nothing for you? Tell me what you think in the comments below and don't forget to subscribe and follow me on Twitter @malcolmwong1

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