By Vincent Tu and Ming Da (Tim) Li , Future-Ready Students Team
What does it take to help students gain a sense of preparation for their future? As part of the Future Ready Students domain, we embarked on our journey to listen to the voices of students who are preparing to enter the workforce. By doing so, we’re identifying common themes that echo throughout their stories, which will help inform us on what the University needs to foster future readiness for students.
We are undergraduate students ourselves, and many of our peers’ stories—with their dreams, distinctive life goals and concerns—deeply resonate with us. While conducting interviews, we found the questions “Am I getting prepared for the job force?” and “Where does my passion lie?” to be some of the recurring topics. Gradually, we started to see signs of similar disorientation beneath each diverse story.
Having just entered adulthood, many of us undergrad students are experiencing transitions from focusing on ourselves to becoming increasingly attentive to the world that awaits us beyond school.
“Are we ready?” we ask ourselves. Rarely is the answer completely affirmative. There are so many unknowns. Alongside the excitement and anticipation of the real world are strains of nervousness and anxiety. Interestingly, this sense of anxiety feeds off from the same lack of “understanding” of the outside world. This mosaic of emotions is manifested in the ultimate statement, “I want to become more prepared for the job force.” As such, being ready for the working world should not be limited to mere professional capability, but also adaptation in a broader sense.
Personal growth is also an area of development for students as they establish their social identities. Some students have found a sense of self-worth through their achievements; they gain confidence from knowing they are the best in some category, or through working to better the community. However, this sense of self-worth may not be growing intrinsically, as it is reflective that their self-worth comes from external forces. “Am I really who I am, or is how society sees me the real me?” This determinant in the personal identities of students will be very important in helping them gain a sense of fulfilment.
As students walk towards their future, their paths are often unclear and muddy. In understanding the major concerns of some students, our team is in the midst of the ideation process. Through the Innovation Hub, we hope to improve the experience and future readiness of students.