Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"Heartbeats and Hashtags"

Truth be told, our generation is looked down upon way to often. I mean, seriously…the only difference between past generations and us is simply the time period that we grew up in.  And to be honest, we can learn a lot by working with one another instead of criticizing what we believe each other’s morals are and how we go about our daily life routine, whether it involves refreshing your news feed or reading the newspaper.  There are so many different possibilities and opportunities available if we just take a step back, think outside the box, collaborate with each other and let all of our different intellectual juices flow together.

photo credit: DonnaGrayson via photopin cc

While reading an excerpt from the book “Share or Die: Voices of the Get Lost Generation in the Age of Crisis,” I came across one particular passage that stuck out so vividly to me. It told the story of a girl who was living in the BIG, BOLD state of New York on a $25 per week stipend from volunteering with $60,000 in debt from student loans. (Now you and I both know that this is a rare occurrence. C’mon, who do you know that would volunteer for ONLY $25 per week? Especially in New York!) She spoke about how “society has already forcibly stamped “Generation Y” on [her] forehead, at the sight of which older generations stop and scour the floor in search of [her] pacifier.” (Is this not true? Do older generations not think of us as “innovative, but impatient,” and “smart, but selfish?” And is it also not true that we “youngsters” think of adults as incapable of even coming close to knowing how the technological world operates? Think about that for a moment………)
            ……..OK, moment over.
Anyway, the girl was led to a community life center a block away from her apartment, and soon met a lady named Sister Margaret who was the executive director of the foundation.  She’d met the lady online when her Google search failed to give her any relevant results, but instead, brought about a blog that had not been updated since 2008 but seemed like it was supposed to be of great importance in the Bronx community. Later on after Sister Margaret and the girl agreed on a position that could be filled, the girl began to think of ways that she could help Sister Margaret expand her business. And of course! What else is our generation known for besides our ability to thrive in the technological world? The girl came up with the idea to “lace together the strings of social media with the cords of social good.” One thing our generation knows extremely well is social media and its abundant purposes.

photo credit: Jobs with Justice via photopin cc

By the time they finished all of their planning and collaborating, they had each learned something from one another. Sister Margaret taught the girl how to develop a sense of good will and how to translate impoverished, under privileged heartbeats when today’s economy is all about the dollar sign. Meanwhile, the girl was educating Sister Margaret on the importance of evolution and how vital social media can be in helping better the world.
So kids, the moral of the story is this: when we come together without judgment and with the willingness to work together and think outside the box to meet a common goal, there are endless opportunities for all of us, and anything is possible. Whether you’re a Baby Boomer, from Generation X or Generation Y, your specific knowledge and skills can be passed off to individuals, and can ultimately lead the world to greatness.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

You can have more degrees than a thermometer, but is college really enough?

      Let's be honest...How many of us spent most of our high school days contemplating what we're going to do after the long awaited graduation day? And, how many of us realized that just because high school was over, doesn't mean that we couldn't sit around the house and wait for mom to make us sandwiches the rest of our lives? AND, how many of us came to the conclusion that if we want to be something in this world, then sooner or later we would have to go to "Almighty" college to be successful? Go ahead. Raise your hand. It's ok to admit because we've all been there and we've all been told that college is the way to go! But, think about it...Is college really good enough? Is college actually all you need to be successful?....
         According to the College In America Info graphic, college isn’t all its cracked up to be. Why? Because of the rapidly decreasing job opportunities, poor graduation rates, and even some of the most absurd classes! Studies show that more high school students are aspiring to go to college than ever before. However, they don’t yet know that going to college alone, isn’t going to guarantee them success in the 21st century. They can have more degrees than a thermometer, but that one piece of paper with their name and degree of study stamped on it means absolutely nothing unless they put it to use. Unfortunately, school systems today are teaching students everything except how to thrive after college graduation. In some cases, it seems like they’re teaching the exact opposite, implied in John Coleman’s article "The Bad Habits You Learn in School."

“It can be tough to help new college graduates adjust to the real world. Joey, a 22-year-old, Ivy League graduate who joined one of my consulting teams, was a great example. He was bright, hardworking, and motivated. But he had bad habits that were hard to break. Joey would become so focused on the perfect answer to a problem, he wouldn't consider implementation. He feared failure so much that he would hide his mistakes until they grew worse. He was only interested in getting his own work right — rarely helping the rest of the team proactively. And he saw the world in terms of hierarchy: I was his "boss," and no one else's opinion really mattered.”

     All throughout the twelve to twenty years that people attend school, they are taught about authority and that being the leader means being the boss. And who doesn’t want to be the boss!? We’re also taught to compete against others so that we can have a better rank than them, especially in college. Learning to work together to accomplish a goal is one skill that is most definitely being thrown out the window. Instead, it’s a race for dominance. Also, students are being taught that there can only be one right answer to a question and that thinking outside the box is not the way to go. Students have gotten so used to looking for the textbook answer. However, in the real world, textbook answers aren’t going to be as beneficial when you have to do a job that requires you to use common sense rather than book smarts.
The video Is College Enough gives a great explanation about college and outside skills that you need to acquire that some people don’t learn during their college journey. Adaptation is a big part of being successful in the 21st century. Because of all the new technology and sudden requests, knowing how to adapt to certain situations is a MUST! But, most of the time, college only teaches you how to manage things when they are going how they’re supposed to. How are students supposed to know when and how to adapt with their environment?

In the article, The Case Against College Education, the dominating opinion is that college is not always enough to guarantee success now or in the future, nor does it always do the job in preparing an individual for their chosen career field.

“It is absurd that people have to get college degrees to be considered for good jobs in hotel management or accounting — or journalism. It is inefficient, both because it wastes a lot of money and because it locks people who would have done good work out of some jobs. The tight connection between college degrees and economic success may be a nearly unquestioned part of our social order. Future generations may look back and shudder at the cruelty of it.”

        So, to wrap it all, the answer to the BIG question is no. College is not enough. “Your education won’t guarantee success” (Hughes 2008) College teaches individuals how to compete against one another and how not to think outside the box. Without a person’s will power to go further after graduating from college, more than likely, they will not succeed in today’s economy. College graduates still need to learn certain skills that are not taught in college, they need to be able to adapt to their surroundings, and they need to know what behavior to use in certain situations that arise.