My Thoughts on the Pain/Problem:
- What causes the problem? (To answer this question well, channel your inner four-year-old and ask a 5-question “why” chain: “Why is there a problem?” “Why is that the cause?” “Why is that the cause of the cause?” and so on.) – Students aren’t given the tools and training that they need. Teachers and counselors are swamped with responsibilities and parents often either don’t care or don’t know what to do. Even though my parents both went to college that was decades ago and they don’t have any idea how to deal with how college is now!
- Think about the people with the problem. What are they currently doing, or willing to do, to solve it?– I think many students are on the internet and in the offices of people who they think can help them and this is great! I think that there are probably also students who are hitting walls or don’t even know where to start.
- What are all of the current solutions to the problem? – There are in some case classes for “life planning” but at least at my high school they were pretty much a joke. You take some test that says you should probably be a priest or a forest ranger, make a fake resume and still don’t have any experience doing the things that you need to do to get a job or get accepted to a college.
- Why aren’t the current solutions good enough? – See above….
- How long has it been a problem? – I would say at least since it became almost necessary to get more than a high school diploma to make a decent salary in most cases, so, at least since the 60s?
- How easily could something change to make the problem go away? – I think better training could make this go away fairly easily. The issue might be getting schools and teachers to buy in, and students as well. When I first heard about this I thought it was stupid, but as I think about it more I think that even though it might not be good for everyone, it could be good for many.
Others’ thoughts about the problem/pain:
I asked current high school students, especially those getting ready to graduate soon. I also talked to some who were other about their impressions looking back. I focused specifically on minority students because they have been the priority focus of the project, but also got information from some who were not minority students because we’ve been branching out to other groups as well.
Several of those who were about to graduate from high school expressed a fear of the real world, this was somewhat surprising to me. These young people didn’t fit into the category of challenged students that I was thinking would have a hard time. They simply weren’t motivated to leave the comforts of their parent directing and bank rolling their lives for the unknowns and struggles of college and job searching. Motivation is an abstract thing, but some learning theories suggest that students who know what they are meant to do are more motivated.
One student expressed a fear of graduating from college with a degree that they didn’t want, an issue that this program could help avoid.
Another student expressed concern about the social changes of college (budgeting, livingn wiht new people, etc., which is something that at this point the program does not yet cover.
A couple of people expressed problems with time management and work ethic, feeling that their school system didn’t help them improve these skills within themselves, and may have even helped them atrophy. This rings true to me, I took classes in high school that required so little work, and when I had to get back to work that was more difficult my intellectual muscles had atrophied.
One former student whose now entered the work force brought up the issue of culture which we’ve been very concerned with. He said that as he works in his professional job he’s had to do things like act aggressively that he realizes his friends from home often haven’t been willing to do and as a result he is farther ahead than they are. On the other hand, as he holds on to some things about his culture (like his accent), his coworkers take issue with his differences. This is an issue that the program is specifically designed to help with.