Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Are College Graduates Ready For The Real World?
Ok, so over the past month or so, several of some great Twitter folks have been doing what they affectionately call a "Blog Off". I've been intrigued to join the mix for several weeks and have finally committed (see my official-looking badge below?)
*SIDENOTE: My post is based upon personal experience, observations (yes, opinion) and business experience.
Ok, so on to the topic of "Are College Graduates Ready for the Real World?". My response, sadly, is "It depends". Why you ask?
Well, it depends on how serious the student took their training. Did they view college merely as a party stage of life? Did mom and dad pay for it all with the student nary a care in the world? Did the student dig in and really study, really take this serious? Did the student research job availability research for after his/her graduation? Did said student seek out employment or internships? Wait...I'm asking questions and am supposed to be answering them.
First, let me be real honest for a moment. I graduated just about top in my class. I was excited to go to college and knew precisely what I wanted to do with my life. (I had wanted to be a lawyer since I was about 10.) I had researched my field and discovered that an Accounting degree was the best degree to enter law school with (good thing I was good at math and business). So, I busted butt in high school, even with the newborn that I had had just before senior year (life does have those curve balls, right?) and had a great support system and some scholarships. After the first year of college, reality struck that I couldn't pay for college and would need to get a full time job and put college on hold. So, no, I did not graduate from college, but I believe my real world experiences and lessons are more than capable of answering these questions (I believe).
Mostly, college grads are not truly ready for the real world. What classroom can prepare you for the various different positions out there? How could a college professor possibly know all of these details in order to teach them? The main reason for college to get the ball rolling. That is why many colleges require internships and the like. The hope there is that you'll intern with a company that may ask you to remain on staff, thus you've invested in your future employment and they have invested in a future employee. Make sense? We've actually hired an intern or two at my company (Lancaster County Timber Frames, Inc.). We've found that while the drafting courses helped to prepare the intern, we had to retrain them. This retraining was not based on the fact that they AutoCad/drafting courses they took were sub-par, but merely because we are highly customized with how we utilize the program (see previous mention about varied skills in various companies). But, had that employee (now here for almost 6 yrs) not went out on a limb to start the course and then ask for the internship, he may have either decided to abandon his degree or have went in a different direction.
One of the main points that I think is missed, though is that the question has been directed towards 20 something people. What about those people that choose to return to college in their 30's or 40's that have been working in the profession for many years and are finally returning to college to make it "official"? Are they prepared for the real world? Probably. I suppose there are some that still are fully prepared, but I think those students that take the course of reality first and then studies may just be more prepared and be able to put that college education to work for them faster - not to mention possibly appreciate it more. I think it really boils down to a maturity level that has been attained (and the fact that they've had to finance said education on their own and probably juggle it with full/part time work).
Anyway, hope you enjoyed the read for my first attempt at the #letsblogoff. I hope I won't be outlawed from future posts due to my ramblings *smiles*. And, I hope to be one of those "matured graduates" at some point in the future. But, for now, I'll enjoy my life lessons college...or is it, graduate of the school of hard knocks? I wouldn't exchange my kiddos for the world...everything I've learned from my school of hard knocks has helped me in my professional world.
Here are the other participants:
Sean Lintow @SLSConstruction
Paul Anater @paul_anater
Bob Borson @bobborson
Nick Lovelady @cupboards
Veronica Miller @modenus
Becky Shankle @ecomod
Tamara Dalton @tamarajdalton
Tim Elmore @timelmore
Rufus Dogg @dogwalkblog
Bonnie Harris @waxgirl333
Richard Holschuh @concretedetail
Tim Bogan @TimBogan
Hollie Holcombe @GreenRascal
Cindy FrewenWuellner @Urbanverse
Steve Mouzon @stevemouzon