School then and now


As I reflect over my time with the Portland Senior Experience I have noticed some similarities and differences between school and school at a distance, aside from the obvious comparisons.

Class then:

When we took class in Eugene our main focus was school and then work and then with time to spare fun activities. Our deadlines were midterms, papers and group projects. The overwhelming stress came from passing a test and receiving a good grade on an exam and deciding how much of our time to devote to preparing study guides for our next quiz.

Class now:

We discuss real world scenarios that our peers are going through. Our stress comes from writing meaningful blog posts that others can relate to. We are concerned about where we are going to meet up for happy hour once class is over. And the deadlines we have, seem like a walk in the park (for some) compared to upper division classes.

Homework then:

We were assigned a very time consuming amount of group projects, group papers and mounds of reading. With all the classes we were taking, staying on top of homework meant less time sleeping in your bed and more time falling asleep on the tables in the library.

Homework now:

Compared to actual classes, it is very little. Our homework has become being excellent students at work, learning as much as we can and using the most resources we are able to in order to excel at our internships. 

The objective then:

To pass. The obvious answer would be to learn as much as you can, get involved and use your teachers as references to all your questions. But there was always the pressure to pass your classes.

The objective now:

Be awesome and show your boss you are an asset they can’t do without. Yes, there is probably more pressure than to do well and get good grades, but this is where it actually counts.

Maybe I was too harsh on school. In many ways there were classes I took and projects I did that I still can’t see how it helped me get an internship and further, a potential job in the future. But there were many lessons and professors that taught me how to perform to the best of my ability. We are able to apply what we learned from our years of schooling to the real world, with pressing deadlines and client work in groups with your colleagues, along with managed stress and useful journalistic tools.

Piper Criscola 

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6 Responses to School then and now

  1. pdxsx says:

    That’ll do, Piper. That’ll do. 🙂

  2. This is so true! I couldn’t agree more with all of your comparisons. The distance education we have had this past quarter is about learning real life skills and making yourself be invaluable to as an intern. The education we received in Eugene became critical to applying ourselves as interns and the education we have received in Portland has taught us how to be the best at what you do and how to do it. In my opinion, this makes us stronger than our competition and a step up in the game (hopefully)!

  3. I was just thinking the other day how different my midterm week was this term compared to the last few years! I think you made some great observations about how different this term is from the rest. Although I learned a lot from my years in the J school, I feel I’m learning so much more through my internship and class with PDXSX. True, it is more challenging but it’s also a better taste of what the rest of our lives will look like! I think it’s been a great stepping stone to the workforce and our future careers.

  4. feeneyy says:

    I love the comparison of the now and then objectives. One thing I have learned throughout this process is the difference between what I want to accomplish with project I am given. The goal is not only to pass, but what can I do to impress. I do not look at projects as just something that needs to be turned in and forgot about. Projects are now something that you start, turn in, edit, turn in again, and again until it is perfect. It’s an interesting dynamic, and definitely something that takes getting used to.

  5. I really like how you organized your thoughts here. I think that American universities could learn from our current education structure in PDXSX. Give your students more real world experience, where your “grades” evaluate your success and ability to market your skills, rather than your ability to regurgitate information for a test.

  6. To be honest, I’ve always felt the way you’ve described. Even when I wasn’t working with a professional organization, for me my collegiate publications taught me considerably more than my classes did. My focus was always on my publications, not my grades – and although my grades aren’t the best in the world as a result, I feel like my practical, professional skills are better for it.

    Though you’re right; there were some genuinely useful classes, and I have taken some of the things I learned from the frankly excellent SOJC and applied it to my professional work, even if grades were never my focus. Now if only more classes were like this, and encouraged outside-of-class development – it’d be nice to not have to pick grades or professional experience!

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