Self-teaching, while key, shouldn’t be necessary

Photo courtesy of Sara Schmitt

Here at Tech, students have access to some of the most advanced labs, invention studios and resources for education in the country. They have the best professors for their fields, ranking in the top 10 programs nationwide for several majors. Even career fair at Tech is an incredible opportunity, with companies vying for space just to meet the future alumni of the institute. A Tech degree carries weight on a playing field that covers far more territory than just the U.S.; its recipients often find careers abroad. This incredible success comes from a reputation of advanced preparedness and a readiness to jump right into the workforce at full speed, saving employers precious time and resources on training new employees. Yet if employers were to look into any one of a large number of Tech classes, they might be quicker to sing praises of the students themselves and not the Tech program.

Many students at Tech are frustrated by the amount of money that they pay for an education that often seems to be handed to them in a syllabus instead of taught in a lecture hall. Often students are so lost in classes at Tech that they turn to outside tutors, YouTube channels and Yahoo! Answers to learn the material.

The beauty of a college education — what makes it distinguishable from high school ­­— is the professors. Many professors come to Tech with years of experience in their respective fields and valuable contacts in their areas of expertise. Instead of automatons standing in front of a projector screen, they should be dynamic storytellers, telling students of the real-life problems that they have solved and the unconventional methods they that set them apart.

This being said, there are several perks to knowing how to self-teach. For instance, in the work force, no employer is going to hold the hand of a fledgling employee for months on end, helping them to solve the assigned problem. Thus the ability to teach oneself is an invaluable skill that Tech students are forced to pick up here in college. In being pushed to find unconventional methods of learning outside of the classroom, students familiarize themselves with resources that may be valuable later while also learning about independent information-gathering.

So while it is often frustrating to stay up late at night frantically combing wikiHow for how to solve a math problem, or bombarding a fellow student with questions that should have been answered by a professor in class, ultimately this atmosphere of rigorous self-propulsion through college is what makes Tech students so remarkable. So remember when giving the very best elevator pitch at career fair: every Tech student’s most valuable asset is the ability to survive and thrive in environments that seem impossible, because problem-solving and independence are key components of the Tech education.