What university is about

Feb 18 2010

I realize what university is really about, at least to me.

First, University is about networking. It’s not the kind of networking event where you come, exchange namecards and send a follow-up email afterwards (though I’m not against this, just that this is not the ‘netwokring’ I’m mentioning).

It’s the network of people you hang out and work together during your university life. Or it’s the people who know you due to your reputation on some work that you did the other day.
Think about it, where else could you have the chances to try out working with different people to find the best people that you can do serious stuff with? If you get that, I think you’ll get why business courses tend to have more group-projects as compared to other courses.
I think ‘trust’ is a nice word for that ‘networking’.

While some of the people on the same program with me (NOC) are very keen on organizing events (like seminar, conferences), mainly to get contacts and network, I’m just against that mentality.

Second, university is about finding out what you want by trying out different things.
Not many people are certain about what they want to do. Even if they’re keen on what they want to do at the moment, that might change anytime. Things that you thought that you don’t like, but you never know, until you try it.
The fact is, asking an 18-year old kid to choose which career to go to (by filling out the college application form) is just as same as closing his/her ‘exploration’ door (that is exactly what I felt when choosing my college).
That’s why, university is the time for you to try things out. How? By taking various courses that are out of your major. By joining different ECAs (extra-curriculum activities). Or just by listening to stories of people around you.
That’s how I come to appreciate the concept of ‘liberal art colleges’.

I have a couple of other realizations wanted to pen down, but I guess I’d leave that to some other day then.

For those who ever undertook a Vietnamese education, think about the above in the context of Vietnam Education. Some questions to ponder would be: How does Vietnamese education currently enable students to have that ‘try things out’ mentality? Or does it? Why is it so and what can we do to make it better?

4 responses so far

  1. Hi. I added you to my blog :). I have a friend whose name is Huy Nguyen, too.

    Your definition of networking is the equivalent of friendship. Nothing wrong with that :).

  2. Thanks. I take it as a compliment. Added yours to mine GReader, too.t

    I don’t really find it similar to friendship. Same same but different :-P

  3. Nice post.

    To me, it’s a “transformation”; university is a chance to train ourselves to be who we want to be, and how we want to become. Not about dumping lectnotes to get A during 4 yrs.

    I want to know more about “context of Vietnam Education. Some questions to ponder would be: How does Vietnamese education currently enable students to have that ‘try things out’ mentality?”

    Hhehe

  4. Bình,

    Like how were you encouraged (by parents, friends and school) to try different things out back in highschool. For me it’s limited. And I felt majority of others are, too.

    I was never taught or told about real life stories or how to handle / behave with people, something I don’t even know that I don’t know.

    These were never part of the formal education, family stories, friends’ stories, or whatever came across my life back in high-school.

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