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.
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.
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.
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.
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.