Real Life Experience is Priceless for Students

A lot of the collegiate academic experience takes place in the classroom. Lectures, books, notes, exams, papers— many professors keep it strictly to the classroom or auditorium. One asset that many courses do not offer is the chance to really experience what it is like outside of those four walls. Success and failure mean a completely different thing when you have to apply your knowledge to real world situations. The value that students receive is much greater than reading from a textbook or jotting down notes in your lectures.

In my experience, college lectures do not always keep the attention of students. It is the same material over and over. The professor recalls what the students read the night before and will usually get them involved in a discussion. Students read their textbooks, take their notes, write their papers, and cram for exams. Often times, courses will have some kind of group presentation, but all that does is force students to research all semester. Ho hum, status quo. If you want students to get involved and prepare them for the real world, give them a project where they have to answer to a real manager who is entrusting them with their company’s money and reputation.

The one project I worked on was the most memorable course I had taken in college. It was a marketing class requiring the 30 or so students to put on a recruiting event for a company. We came up with an idea to show a free movie, which was relevant to the company. We convinced the director of the movie to come and entertain a question and answer session after the showing. It was a complete success. Prizes were given away, the company’s name got out to around 200 students of their target audience, and our professor was pleased with our work. Maybe it is easier to offer this type of project in a more creative environment, such as an Interior Design school.

I was recently told about a competition where students had the opportunity to design lighting and furniture pieces to be displayed at a local furniture store. This is a fantastic idea that not only recognizes the student’s work, but it might make them a few dollars in the process. Going to an Interior Design School, such as Westwood College, allows you to learn space planning, color coordination, and drawing, drafting, creating, and bringing to life your most imaginative designs. I wish there was more of this in my college career. Without that experience, I have been forced to learn as I go.

It is hard to know what to expect after college if you do not gain some sort of experience. Your professors and books can only teach you so much, but it is not until you apply that knowledge do you really learn from your successes and failures. Whether you are studying Game Art in a computer lab or Interior Design online, experience is key to understanding what you are earning that degree for. A grade is just a letter or number, but if you have the opportunity to impress somebody then you have opened up many doors to your career and your future.