Adam Enz –
With the arrival of the New Year, there comes a valuable opportunity to plan for the next year. However, there is a problem. Many people jump straight into planning without really taking the time to reflect on everything already done. In the last semester of classes alone, each student has compiled a vast treasure trove of papers, projects, and experience that are rarely of value beyond the final grade.
The second you hand in a finished paper or project, the first and most labor-intensive phase of your education is over. Stopping here seems logical to many students who see the grade as the final goal. This is the equivalent of buying a mirror, but then never taking the time to look into it. Everything we create during our education carries within it a piece of who we were at the time we did it. By reflecting on our hard work, we catch glimpses of what we have to offer as well as what we need help developing. The fact of the matter is that we do not know what we will find, but it only can help to look and learn about yourself, but for this to happen we have to look in the first place.
Staring deeply back into my last semester, I noticed that one particular project stood out. I worked on it for more than half the semester in a course called, Organizational Communication. This course was taught by one of the newest additions the Communications department, Dr. Goldman. The project designated a partnership between the class and a local company, which was Reynolds. The idea and focus of the Reynolds project was to have students learn the material of the class by consulting Reynolds with it in an effort to improve three aspects of its business. These aspects were: Training & Socialization, Decision Making, and Reversing Turnover. The class was divided into three groups- one for each of the aspects I mentioned.
Over the course of the class, we interviewed employees and worked alongside management to better understand how the company functioned. As my fellow classmate Kyle Glasgow put it, “The Reynolds project prepared [us] for the reality of a real working job,” which was a true “hands-on experience.”
Now, though, is the critical time for all of my classmates and myself to imagine it all over again. Not just to remember how we did everything, but to reconsider what else we could have done and what we wish we would or could have done. We should do this carefully, as not to nurture regrets or insecurity, but to inspire creativity as well as to clarify on individual goals and motives. From here, students have an excellent opportunity to plan ahead.
So mind your experiences, and mine them for jewels of knowledge going forward. Go into this new semester paying more attention to the opportunities being offered to you, and find yourself surprised by all you may have been passing up while at IC. More than anything, I hope that each student takes the time to just reflect and squeeze every last insight from their education.