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Editorial

Higher education exists outside classrooms, too

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February 18, 2010

Take a moment and reflect on why you are in college. Some people attend UW-River Falls because their parents mandated they pursue higher ed; others are more than happy to rely on Mommy and Daddy’s bank-roll to fund several years of debauchery before transferring to Subway U. And still others wander campus clueless simply because they believe college is the socially expected norm.

But it is a safe wager that the large majority of UWRF students attend this University in hopes of securing the education and experiences that will bring about a happier tomorrow. The Student Voice has run several columns this academic year about proper classroom etiquette, which is monumentally important. But the classroom is not the sole educational realm.

Half of all learning that takes place at universities comes from experiences outside the classroom.

That is a bold statement, but think about it. Every interaction with peers and professors, time spent making friends, at least two years living in a residence hall, these are all socialization mechanisms that teach how to exist in the “real world.”

One of the positive aspects of attending UWRF is that this institution is dedicated to helping students seek out and enjoy as many ‘outside classroom’ learning experiences as possible.

Career Services is a plethora of knowledge, advice and contact information any student (past or present) can tap into. But paramount is their ability to aid students in finding and securing internships. In a society which sees record totals of people enrolling in, and going back to, school, the job market gets more competitive daily.

It is a matter of the utmost importance that students do whatever possible to be distinguishable from the crowd. Start looking for internships right away, don’t wait until junior or senior year. If possible, work several different internships to diversity your experience and knowledge base.

Global Connections can help students interested in studying abroad. With the proliferation of technology, the entire planet is becoming interconnected. More and more companies are finding the need for globally informed employees. Having spent a term overseas would make any candidate more attractive.

The Global Connections office can even help break down and find financial aid, so traveling internationally is a reality for all students.

People always say “time flies.” Don’t let your time at UWRF fly by, leaving you facing graduation without a plan or valuable experience. Start looking into the future now; it is never too early. Respect your time in class, listen to your professors, but never forget that even after you walk out of that classroom, you never stop learning.