My Reflection on Higher Education

They say “if you’re not advancing, you’re retreating.” The university or higher education system is always facing challenges that aid in the transformation and advancement of how we as a society function. In the past, general, information transmitting courses offered during freshman and sophomore years seemed to be sufficient to jumpstart students’ passion and career goals. More recently, and from my experience as an undergraduate at VT, I found myself feeling stunted by these classes. I wished I had learned more. I wished I left with more real-life skills that would prepare me to hit the ground running when I entered my field. Luckily I was able to stay for graduate school which has greatly aided in development of “real-world” skills. Reflecting on my differing experiences in undergrad and grad school, I found it interesting and relevant that undergrad instruction is often viewed as peripheral to a faculty member’s interest (Origins reading). The description of this was on point with my experiences (2-3 large lectures/week with recitation sections led by grad students with little teaching experience). Having seen both worlds, I understand completely how hard it must be for these faculty members to juggle their responsibilities. What I’m trying to say is this: There has to be a better way to make this all work. The concept behind general classes makes sense but students have so many resources at their fingertips today with laptops, iPhones, iPads, etc. University systems and class courses have to keep up with the ever evolving technologies. The college freshman today looks nothing like the college freshman 20 years ago…or even 10 years ago. Maybe if professors could meet students where they are, students would be more interested in course content, and faculty members would find more reward and fulfillment in teaching them.

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