By Dana Shreve
$24,000 spent on graduate course work at a four year university. In three years, I learned the history, theories, current practices and upcoming technologies for my profession and a second degree.
What I did not learn was how to survive on internships, part-time work, minimum wage and a car that always needed repair. The professors warn you at the beginning of the program that the job market is fiercely competitive and that we students would not be raking in piles of money. So where was the class that provided feedback on job searching, resume building, and the like? Some professors would allow for meetings to help with such topics, but they were usually trying to finish their research, grade assignments and eat lunch.
Why not give students recipes on how to be creative with Ramen noodles or where to find the best deals on Red Bull? Or how to un-jam a stapler, copier or printer? How about tips on how to get toner out of khaki pants or ink out of a blouse? These are the life skills that should be taught before graduation.
With that, I propose the following coursework to be taught concurrently with the Final Project or Practicum. 16 week course, two days a week
Turning on the Computer
Locating the Volume Button
Jams: Staplers, Copiers, and Printers
Refills: Paper, Toner/Ink, Paperclips
Stains: Toner/Ink, Coffee, Lipstick
Casual versus Professional
Coffee Drinkers and Smokers: Breath Mints Please!
Removing Food from Teeth: Tooth Picks, Not Pen Caps
Grammar, Punctuation, and NO CAPS
How to Reply, Reply All, and Forward
How to Answer and Transfer
Break Room Etiquette
Eat What You Bring, Not Others People’s Food
What Not to Heat Up in the Microwave (e.g. fish)
Week 8: Midterm
1000 word essay on Ramen noodles and pizza
Job Searching Tips
Where to Find a Job
How to Apply Only Once
Resumes and Cover Letters
One Page or Two?
How to Give Them What They Want
Why Do You Want to Work Here?
What to Do With Your Hands
Online or Notebook?
When Is Too Much?
Associations and Affiliations
How to Join Before Graduation
No, Webkinz Does Not Meet Requirements
When it’s Your Boss
When it’s Your Cubicle-Mate
How to Dress the Dummy
Week 16: Final
1000 word essay on how to keep your job
For supplement information on how to live in the real world, workshops would be available, each a 2 day session.
Car Repair: Duct Tape and Coat Hangers
Ramen Noodles and Pop Tarts:
How to Survive in College
How to Crank Out 10 Pages in Two Hours
How to Survive on Minimum Wage:
Get Another Job
When 24 Hours Are Not Enough:
Surviving the Deadline
Yes, if only some of my college tuition had gone to this coursework or workshops, I would be a better employee. No longer would I have to call for maintenance, computer help desk or my mom.
(Dana is currently the Electronic Resources Librarian at Grand Canyon University, and she loves her job, really.)