« Are College Graduates ready for the working world?
22 Sep 2011
By Bob Borson
People go to college to learn how to learn and to train their brain to assess problems and determine what possible steps could or should be taken. You go to a technical college to learn how to do a thing or perform a specific job. You want to learn how to work on HVAC equipment there’s a school for that – they’re important – but it’s not the same set of criteria used to measure the success of college graduate from a typical four or five year program.
What I am really talking about is critical thinking – a skill that requires good logic skills but demands that the thinker employ accuracy, relevance, clarity and significance.
Regardless of what I design – however small or insignificant – there are reasons for the moves I make. It’s not too often that my motivation is solely based on thinking something would simply look good. There is an ebb and flow to design, a push here requires a pull there – a never-ending series of compromises that get made to achieve a finished product. Sometimes those compromises aren’t made by me and are completely out of my control. That’s why doing what I do as an architect requires critical thinking. For that reason, I don’t expect the graduates that come to me looking for a job to be completely ready to enter the working world. The most valuable piece of information I want I can’t get off someone’s resume. Sure, I can look at a resume and infer from it if they are intelligent and that might get their foot in the door. What I am most interested in are finding smart and articulate communicators who have a passion for something. If you’re smart you’ll figure the rest out while learning how to make it your own. That last bit is the most important part because it implies ownership in the work – which I can then infer that you will have pride in the final product. You’ll want it to be good for yourself rather than simply being able to check the done box on the to-do list.
I sometimes wonder what people expect from the recent college graduates they hire. Transitioning between college life and the professional workforce is a huge process and who among us is great at anything the first time we try it? Performing well in a new job isn’t just about being able to do the work; it’s about working with others and the challenges that group dynamics always present. It’s also about learning how to conduct yourself with integrity and professionalism – you should consider that most recent grads still have to discover the value of learning for the sake of learning. Prior to graduation, their lives were based on achieving some sort of resolution to every project – there was a summation line to everything they did. The process of learning how to delegate authority and accept responsibility for things outside of their control is a painful one and I should expect to help steward people through this transformation – sort of a professional pay-it-forward process. »
(Source: Nicolas Marier via ArchDaily)