My Blogs

What’s Your Major? 

 

College offers the opportunity for students to have freedom. Students are away from their parents, and are free to do as they please. Additionally, students are given the option to choose their major. This allows them to focus on the subject(s) they are passionate about. When some individuals graduate high school, they have no clue what they want to study or become. I’ll be honest: I never understood how some people were this way. I always knew that I wanted to be a surgeon since I was a young child. For this reason, it was unfathomable for me that my fellow peers didn’t know what they wanted to become.

Nowadays, it is common for students to be “undecided majors” or even change their majors multiple times. Additionally, some educational systems have acknowledged this, and adapted. There are clearly several different types of educational systems throughout the world. One particular methods is discussed in the article “Intellectual Entrepreneurship” by Richard Cherwitz and Charlotte Sullivan. IE is a particular form of education that focuses on realizing your own experience and expertise, and being able to use those qualities to find a  job. Typically, a graduate education is seen as the end of an educational journey. However, IE views this as the beginning of a perpetual cycle of learning.

Initially, IE appeared to only be useful in a graduate school setting. After further analysis, IE would certainly be beneficial to early undergrads who are unsure of what career they wish to pursue. Why is this? IE gives an individual an understanding of what their degree can be used for, helps them realize what they are passionate about, and opens a the door for several job opportunities. For example, as mentioned in the article, an english PhD was hired by a bank as a consultant. His expertise is one field can be applied to others, as seen here. Opportunities such as this one shows how valuable IE can be. In today’s world, it has become more and more difficult to get a job. Even individuals who have graduated with degrees often struggle to be employed. The IE system would certainly help unemployed individuals assess their capabilities, and perhaps find a job using their expertise in another field that wasn’t initially thought about.

I think the IE system at the University of Texas at Austin is a beneficial program because it allows students to explore the capabilities of their respective degrees. Sometimes students will not know what to do with their degrees. This program shows them the broad spectrum in which they can get jobs. Although this system does give students some flexibility, I still think that students should try to find their calling earlier on in life. For example, even as juniors or seniors in high school, students could potentially shadow adults in various fields just to get an idea of what they would like to do. If they find that they do not like a particular job, then at least this will save them time and effort in the future.

 

 

Writing in the Workplace

One of the main purposes of attending college is to obtain an education about an individual’s specific field of interest. The college education should be able to prepare the student for their future profession in that field. It has become increasingly popular that students do not feel prepared for their professions. Additionally, many employers have voiced their opinion that an undergraduate education is useless.

In this article “University Preparation For Workplace Writing” by Barbara Schneider and Jo-Anne Andre, the authors discuss three categories of students, and analyze whether they feel prepared or not for writing in their future profession. The students agreed that lower level writing courses did not help them improve their writing skills for their career. However, it was courses within their specific field containing significant writing aspects, that was seen to help the students improve their writing the most. Also, the students who identified as communication majors were the least satisfied with their preparedness for writing within their jobs. The authors note that this can most likely be attributed to an unrealistic view of the students, in which they expected their collegiate courses to fully prepare them to succeed at writing in their profession. Instead, college writing courses should give us the framework of what writing in our future jobs will be like.

the authors also advocate for internship or work-term opportunities so students can gain invaluable first-hand experience on the job. I am in complete agreeance with the authors. Personally, I feel that I am well prepared to write in my future profession, but not only because of my college courses. As a biology major/writing minor on the pre-medical track, I have written several essays, lab reports, research papers, and summaries of scientific papers. However, as an aspiring doctor, I think that the most valuable experience of writing for my profession I’ve had would be filling out patient reports as an EMT.

Surely my college courses provide me with an excellent foundation of writing skills, but on the job experience within my field in unparalleled. Stony Brook requires all students fulfill a “WRTD” credential, which means “Write Effectively Within One’s Own Discipline.” I think this is the university’s attempt to ensure all students gain at least some experience of writing within their field. As a Biology major, this can be fulfilled by writing a laboratory report for any upper division biology lab. The best way of learning to write in one’s field in via direct exposure, such as during an internship.

Writing is a critical aspect of any career. Unfortunately, most students fail to realise this. STEM majors in particular often feel that their future professions will not require them to write. I think this a ridiculous mindset. How can you expect to work and communicate with others, yet not be able to write? That makes no sense to me. As an aspiring surgeon, I understand that I will need to have exceptional verbal communication skills. In addition, I will also need to have profound writing skills. The world doesn’t work without writing, and we need to be more conscious of our writing skills.

 

 

Social Media: Devil or Angel? 

Technology is perpetually becoming more and more complex and embedded in our lives. Simultaneously, the use of social media has exponentially grew. This could potentially be linked to the growth of technology. I have always thought of social media as a blessing and a curse. Social media allows us to stay connected with our friends and family, and engage with others in a global platform. However, if abused, social media can be a major distraction, or cause other problems.

Social media has several beneficial applications. For example, friends and family are able to connect and share their lives with each other, no matter where they live. Businesses and companies are able to showcase their products and market on a much larger, global stage via social media. Furthermore, some people use social media to connect with others that share similar values and interests, and make new friends.

Despite the positive effects of social media, it can be easily abused. Cyber bullying has unfortunately become popular. People often find it easier to harass others while safely sitting behind their computer or phone screens. Moreover, some are even becoming addicted to social media. They feel the constant need to keep checking their news feeds to see what their friends just ate or what their parents are doing. In some instances, individuals develop anxiety from social media. This is an extreme, but it is still possible. Social media can also be a major distraction, especially when studying. I personally find myself constantly checking my phone when I study.

In the article “They Loved Your GPA Then They Saw Yours Tweets,” Natasha Singer discusses how admissions officers at colleges are starting to research applicants’ social media to learn more about them. In certain cases, disparaging posts or pictures have led to rejection letters from universities. This is also the case for graduate schools and employers. As technology continuously becomes more intricate, we must be aware of what we share on social media. The old rule of “nothing gets deleted” is key to remember. In my opinion, I think judging a candidate on their social media is contentious. For example, a simple facebook search of my name will bring up 100s of individuals with my exact name. Surely these people aren’t me, but how would an admissions officer know this? I keep all of my social media accounts private, and I never post anything I wouldn’t show my own grandmother. This is because you never truly know who will be seeing what you post, and why risk getting rejected from medical school or missing out on a job.

There are certainly benefits to having a social media account. However, it is important to be conscious of what you are posting. Nothing you share on social media is confidential, even if you delete it. As the article stated, some individuals are even losing their their jobs or college acceptances over social media posts. As a society, we need to be more aware of what we share on social media.

 

 

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