How do you get the most out of college?
by John Perry (Stanford)
College takes up four years of your life, at least. These days it can mean big bucks for you and your parents, even if you don’t go to a pricey private school. And it’s a lot of work. If you get it wrong, it’s not so easy to go back and start over. So it’s no wonder that many college freshmen and prospective college freshmen are confused and anxious about how to plan their college years. And frankly, there are a lot of seniors who look back and wish they had done things differently.
You have about 120 semester units, or 180 quarter units, to work with. I’ve got some suggestions for how to use them, based on teaching and advising college students, for almost fifty years, at Cornell, UCLA, Michigan, Stanford and the University of California, Riverside.
Let’s start with what you want to avoid. First of all, you definitely want to avoid spending four or so years going to college and not graduating with a degree. Continue reading “Advice to Freshmen, Prospective Freshmen, and Other Lost Souls”
How can students and faculty improve their interaction?
by Gwendolyn Toth (Montclair State)
When I attended college in the 1970s, it was clear that we were there to learn from our brilliant professors. However, as I look back with 35 years hindsight, I realize that learning occurred not only in the classroom, the laboratory, the rehearsal hall, the dorm rooms, the rec rooms, and late-night bars (we could drink in those days).
We also learned in the dining hall.
Over food we met new friends with new points of view. Discussions started in late-morning classes continued at lunch with both students and teachers.
We all ate together every day.
Fast forward to 2012. Continue reading “Bring Back Meals Together NOW.”
How can you write better?
by: Peter Elbow (UMass)
I got interested in writing because in my first try for a PhD at Harvard, I gradually couldn’t write. I had to quit before I was kicked out and felt like a complete failure because I had so much invested in my image of myself as a good student. When I went back to grad school five years later (at Brandeis) I gradually learned what became my philosophy of writing: I can’t write right, but I can write wrong; and then I can make it right. It’s too hard to take a mess in the head and turn it into coherence on paper; but it’s not so hard to take a mess on paper and turn it into coherence on paper.
My current interests (reflected in my new book) concern the wisdom of the tongue. Starting around age four, we all internalize a native language. No one’s native language is Continue reading “Talk Onto the Page”
What have you learned about life?
by Michael LaBossiere (Florida A&M)
Some years ago my life was at a terrible low point. My marriage was failing, my career seemed stagnant, and I was stuck in what seemed to be a sea of bleak misery. Many of my problems seemed to stem from my reluctance to do bad things and the willingness of others to prosper through misdeeds.
One morning, when things seemed to be at their lowest point, I went for a run. As I ran, I thought about my life and how I ended up in the situation I faced. In the past, I believed that a person should do what is right—even when it often seems like doing wrong has the greater reward. But, I had seen the rewards of trying to be good and those reaped by those who thought just about themselves. At that moment, I doubted the value of trying to be a good person. Continue reading “Tree of Memory”
Are too many students going to college?
by Walter E. Williams
Too much of anything is just as much a misallocation of resources as it is too little, and that applies to higher education just as it applies to everything else. A recent study from The Center for College Affordability and Productivity titled “From Wall Street to Wal-Mart,” by Richard Vedder, Christopher Denhart, Matthew Denhart, Christopher Matgouranis and Jonathan Robe, explains that college education for many is a waste of time and money. More than one-third of currently working college graduates are in jobs that do not require a degree. An essay by Vedder that complements the CCAP study reports that there are “one-third of a million waiters and waitresses with college degrees.” The study says Vedder — distinguished professor of economics at Ohio University, an adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and director of CCAP — “was startled a year ago when the person he hired to cut down a tree had a master’s degree in history, the fellow who fixed his furnace was a mathematics graduate, and, more recently, a TSA airport inspector (whose job it was to ensure that we took our shoes off while going through security) was a recent college graduate.”
The nation’s college problem is far deeper than Continue reading “Too Much Higher Education”
What would you tell your teenage self?
by Steve Halasz
It’s 1966 and you’re excited and nervous about starting your first year at Hiram, a small liberal arts college on a pleasant hill in Ohio that has a well-deserved reputation for intellectualism. As your 64 year old self, I know what’s coming and so I’m writing to clue you in.
You are going to Hiram because (1) it’s a charming campus with lovely old buildings on a sweet hillside with a great view of the countryside, (2) it’s not far from home, (3) you got a scholarship, (4) Harvard didn’t accept you. But mostly, you’re going there because you are an intellectual, and there are few places in the U.S. where intellectuals are Continue reading “Get a Clue, College-Bound!”
What would you tell your high school self?
by: Sarah Stroup (Q4Colleges.com)
I am Sarah of the future writing to you to provide you (us?) with some perspective on how your life right now will look once you are seven or eight years down the road. If you are tired of people trying to tell you what to do, how to think, and who to be, then I don’t blame you. Old people love to try to give young people the answers, if only just to feel like their age is useful somehow. If you are already annoyed enough to stop listening, then it’s possible that you don’t need my advice because you already have enough confidence in yourself to go get yourself into scrapes, have adventures, and prosper. Ultimately, that’s what I want to say to you anyway. Continue reading “Old People Love to Try to Give Young People the Answers, if Only Just to Feel Like Their Age is Useful Somehow”
How do you teach people to do the right thing?
by Brooke Allen (Q4Colleges.com)
The unspoken contract when you are hitch-hiking is that you need to be more interesting than the radio. One summer (circa 1973), Debra and I decided to see how far away from New Brunswick, New Jersey we could get when all we had was $49 and three weeks.
We knew that repeating your own life story over and over gets repetitious so we used a little trick. We would ask each person who gave us a ride to tell us their story and then we would tell the next person the previous person’s story. Continue reading “You do not need permission to do the right thing. No one can give you permission to do the wrong thing.”
What would you tell your high school self?
by Adrienne Rodney (Q4Colleges.com)
You probably have an idea (or wish) of what life will be like at 32. I’m sure you’re very successful (you want to be a publicist, right?), thin, educated and probably married with children. I’m sure you also got to where you wanted to be by 27. Am I right? Is this what you imagine?
Unfortunately life doesn’t work the way you want it to. That doesn’t mean life is worthless, just that what you envision is not always reality.
Life at 32 will be NOTHING like you think it will be, but that’s okay. There are some lessons I’ve learned along the way that I’d like to pass to you.
1. Don’t let others make important decisions for you.
I’m going to let you in on a secret. You’re going to want to Continue reading “Life Is Never What You Expect It To Be, And That’s Okay”
Are we preparing students for the professional world?
By Carol Geary Schneider (AAC&U)
Envision this: You’re an employer, interviewing a candidate for an entry-level position in your unit. The applicant is very direct.
“I’m in it for the money,” she explains. “I make all my choices on the basis of how much I can expect to earn. I chose my major based on earnings reports. I applied for this particular position because you pay more than any other company in the region. Actually, I’m a bit sorry that I didn’t stop with a two-year degree, since I read in the newspaper last week that I could have made almost as much in my first job with half the time spent on college. I hate thinking about all the time I wasted.”
You have no difficulty deciding not to hire this new graduate. The job applicant who arrives talking money first, money only, lacks common sense, and career sense, too.
And yet our candid candidate did Continue reading “The Narrowing of the American Mind”