Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What University actually teaches you

As the old saying goes, college prepares you for a job, university prepares your for a career. What's meant here is that college will prepare someone for a specific task that they will be able to do better than other people without the corresponding eduction. University, on the other hand, prepares people for many different jobs by providing base skills with which to work upon. Some examples:
1) Time management
2) Critical thinking/reasoning
3) Individual learning/working
4) Teamwork (occassionally)
5) Writing, listening, reading

This is great! Who knew I could graduate and be a model employee for any job that I want!


What university cannot teach people about is the "real world." I'm the UO library, so I figured I should be academic-like and put that term in quotations. What's the real world? Pretty much everything besides school! The vast majority of us will work with people in our lifetime. Shouldn't university teach us how to work with real people, instead of literature research and grant agencies? By "real people" (damn you and your quotes academia), I'm talking about the everyday things...car trouble, credit card interest rates, mortages, interviews, small-talk, politeness, courtesy, 'when do I need a lawyer?', budgeting money and time, the work/home balance...etc, etc.

Keep this in mind if you're in university, or are thinking about appying. While you're in school get some real world experience to help you along- work, volunteer, travel...anything non-academic. Trust me, it'll make you a better person. I've done these things- and at the end, I've realized why medical schools want people to have experiences with real people- it shows them that you're a real person too.



  1. Car trouble, eh. Don't you have a girlfriend to provide you with car trouble experience :)

  2. Thats what I loved about college, the field experience. I was in 6 different placement settings in the 2 years that I was in college. This was "real life" experience for me in different settings (hospitals, clinics, schools. . ). I also was able to travel to different cities and see the differences in the hospitals were run. My most favorite experience was working at the Great Nortthern Mental Health Centre. I could not have learned what I did there, in school. It is so different actually seeing injuries or illness and actually having to fix them, and having the patient look at you with complete trust that you will make everything better. I can't wait to get back into the hospital setting!! I just wish university supplied the same resources (such as placements or field work) like college did. :)

  3. Good point "anonymous" :)

    You would know better than anyone!