College: Beyond Books and Tests
By: Samantha Seymour (Intern)
I can’t think of a better way to top off my senior year at Adelphi University than with an internship at Fusion PR. I’m learning a great deal about public relations each and every day and have new insight for the ongoing debate as to whether or not college actually prepares us for real world work.
According to statistics on collegedata.com, the average annual cost of an education at a state school is $22,826. Even higher, private schools cost an average of $44,750 per year. With university and college tuition rates so steep, it’s often difficult to even have the opportunity to attend college whatsoever. For example, because of the costly tuition rates, along with attending college as a full time student and interning part time at Fusion, I was forced to keep my full time job to cover my tuition (along with travel and other college-related expenses). With so many sacrifices made, and such high tuition costs, it’s reasonable to question whether or not college actually pays off in the real world.
We all know that obtaining a degree is the first aspect of landing a job after graduating; but besides that piece of paper, how is college helping graduates have the skills and talents needed to succeed in their field? Although many college students sit in class pondering when they are ever going to use the information they are learning, college does provide much more beyond that. As a communications major with a media studies concentration I have never specifically studied public relations. When I first came to Fusion for my internship, I had a basic understanding of public relations but no idea about the specifics of it. I felt like more of a nuisance than a help to the company when I first got here. However, I did have organizational, computer, time management and other important skills that I developed throughout college.
While my experiences at Adelphi have not specifically taught me the everyday duties in the field of PR, they have taught me other very valuable skills in order to be successful. College is not demanding because the professors believe that their class is the most important thing in your life (although it sometimes seems that way). Rather, it’s demanding to prepare you to deal with the stress and difficulty of what we like to call “the real world.” College courses give you a basic understanding of the background behind specific fields. You can’t expect college courses to provide you with training for a specific job; that’s what internships and on-the-job training are for.
College students are busy and full of stress. A U.S. census report from 2011 claimed that 71% of college students were working as well as attending classes. Sometimes it feels like the amount of work given by professors is unnecessary. However, requiring such excessive amounts of work teaches students how to manage their time wisely. Working in groups is usually dreaded in college. Often, one person does most of the work and there’s always a slacker in the group. However, real world jobs in almost any field require group work. Working in a team is crucial to success in most fields and these skills are improved upon throughout college.
So, although college is stressful and often filled with strenuous work that seems redundant and extremely time consuming, the skills and talents that are often subconsciously learned in college are useful throughout your entire lifetime. Meeting deadlines, being punctual, working in groups, reading, writing and computer skills, and time management skills are just some of the many things that college teaches us.