Edward Pang, class of 2015, Materials Science and Engineering major
I see a large disconnect between what is taught at school and what is needed to succeed in the real world. I believe the structure of the educational system is not geared to adequately prepare us for life after school. Many of my classes have been lectures with little real-world application, and we are evaluated
almost solely on what we can scribble and recite in an hour on a piece of paper, also known as an exam. All of this has no place in the real world and the workplace, and the resulting incentives are sending the wrong message to students.
After getting a chance to taste the real world at my past internships at NASA and Boeing, I have come to realize that my perception of what I was doing at school to earn my degree was greatly mismatched with what was expected of me at the workplace. In the workplace, I was never asked to remember specific facts about a material system. I was told I could look that information up. What was valued, however, was my ability to gain a deeper understanding and take that knowledge and apply it to develop creative solutions.
We are not in school to have a whole list of facts memorized. We are here to learn skills like how to gain a deeper understanding, how to think critically, but most importantly, how to learn. We should reevaluate the system to help ensure that what it teaches students aligns more closely with what we really want to give students as part of an undergraduate education.
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