I am pro education. If you know me, or have read a handful of my blogs, you could probably tell that is true. But I’m not just pro college; I am pro knowledge through whatever outlet it can be acquired.
There are so many ways you can obtain new information and new skills besides going to college. You can find a mentor in a field you want to enter, like photography, and learn from them. Books, obviously, are great sources to learn about history, art, science and anything else you’d like to learn. You can start at the bottom of a company fetching coffee and learn everything you can by watching and asking questions, and then work your way up. You can go online where there is no limit to what you can learn through articles, blogs and video tutorials.
As you can see, there are lots of options out there for you to learn something new whether it’d be for personal enlightenment or for your current or future career. So if you have all these options, why should you consider college? Well, the way I see it, college incorporates all of the above outlets to obtaining an education plus there are additional benefits to being connected to a college.
How Different Options for Learning Are Incorporated Into the College Experience
As I had just suggested, you could find a mentor in your field and learn from them. That means you’ll need to seek out somebody knowledgeable and willing to teach you. I have that at MPTC. In fact, I have several mentors who are professionals with experience in their fields. They are my instructors. And I didn’t have to search them out; I simply signed up for their classes. They are the college’s built-in mentors.
Traditional and Technology-Based Learning Tools
So, how do you get real-world experience by being a college student, like the example I gave about the individual who works his or her way up the ladder by learning from the higher-ups? You become an intern. Oftentimes, interns are college students. If you work hard and learn from them, they may hire you after you graduate and you can start climbing that ladder. As a student in the Wisconsin Technical College system, I have access to a statewide online employment information system that posts internships (as well as jobs). It was probably the best perk I received as a student, because it is how I found a job. Actually, my current employer found my resume on this site and contacted me.
I’ve had instructors who’ve notified my classes about competitions that not only offered real-world experience but also, for the winner, offered something nice to ad to their resume. In fact, I was told about three graphic design competitions I could enter right now. I would not have known about them if it weren’t for my instructor.
The Additional Benefits of Being Connected to a College
Equipment and Discounts
I’m not going to lie, college costs money, but it can save you money, too. Let’s suppose I would have decided to learn about video production and editing by myself instead of enrolling in a program at MPTC. I would have to buy a camera, a tripod, microphones, and a couple of lighting kits. Well, that would have been more than I could afford to buy, especially all at once! But, I enrolled in a program where I have access to that equipment, so I don’t have to run out and buy a soft box or a boom mic.
If I weren’t a student, I wouldn’t have received a student discount on my editing software. The cost of these professional software programs is pretty substantial, so I’m glad I was able to save a nice chunk of money by attending school instead of purchasing it on my own.
Services, Resources, and Activities
As a student, you have access to resources you may not have access to if you weren’t connected to a school. I’ve probably said this more than twice in my blog posts, and I know I have given this advice to a lot of incoming students: Use the campus’s resources and services. They are free. Use the library; use the career center; use the counseling services. These are all things you have access to, and it’s one of the greatest benefits you have as a college student.
Being connected to a college, you have the opportunity to take advantage of free entertainment, free speakers and free food. Some events even give away prizes. If I weren’t a student and didn’t attend events, I wouldn’t have the new Blu-Ray player I won playing BINGO in the cafeteria last year. It’s not something I necessarily needed as part of my educational experience, but it’s definitely one of the perks of being a student.
There are perks even after you leave campus. As a graduate, you are an alumnus. You are invited to networking opportunities, and you still have access to the career center should you need help updating your resume or finding a job.
Speaking of resumes, one of the most obvious benefits of going to college is that, at the end of it all, you get to put something on your resume. In the education section you’ll list your degree. It’s one line of written proof that you’ve learned something.
As I said at the beginning of this blog post, I am pro education. In fact, I enjoy learning for the sake of learning, and it’s been beneficial to me as well as my employers. I encourage everyone to learn, whether it’d be by attending college, on your own, or by some other means. We as a society can never be too educated nor can we have too many educated people. So if you’re thinking about learning something new, I hope you consider college as an option because it does have its perks!