Why go to university? It’s a question that perhaps doesn’t have a simple or straight-forward answer, but nonetheless, a lot of people are asking it right now, and quite rightly too. Amongst the discussion of tertiary education and the job market which, let’s be honest, can often be “doom and gloom”, it’s easy to forget the importance of your student experience.
Let’s consider the recipe for university. First we have, our experts in the field, staff employed first and foremost to know the latest and greatest on a given topic and then guide and stimulate your learning! Furthermore, academics, alongside support staff, are also responsible for making sure your course of study and general experience at university runs smoothly. Add a campus with a plethora of facilities, and hopefully you achieve a productive and vibrant environment, paired with a sense of community.
Last, but by no means least of course, add a body of students who have invested the time, money and effort in themselves to pursue higher education course. For many, this is an adventure like no other. You’re chasing up ideas, meeting new people, finding new hobbies and passions, and, perhaps most importantly, engaging not only with the concepts and knowledge which, in part, drew you to study at uni in the first place, but also with the process of learning. You’re reporting back and adding new information which you’ve discovered, passing on feedback about what you want to know more about and how you want to learn it.
OK, so you may call me an idealist! But that last bit, you know; “engaging with the learning process”, are you doing that? How is any student supposed to go about giving feedback on their experience? Plus, for most of us, this also begs the question, what’s in it for me? Well, hopefully our next few blogs will give some clear examples (words taken straight out of the mouths of your fellow students!) of how feedback within The University can be beneficial for you, your peers and staff during your time at Queen’s.
It goes without saying that’s everyone’s experience of university is different. (I did just say it, but never mind). But the feedback process applies to, and is designed for, everyone. It’s easy to take the attitude of “Staff are staff and students are students. We come to class, they teach, we leave. Simply as that.” But surely we came to Queen’s to get more out of it than that? What’s wrong with tweaking your experience of The University? Letting the right people know what we, as students, want and need? Well, feeding back your experiences and thoughts is the key to making this happen.
Whether it’s to your School of study, those managing the extra curricular activities you take part in, or those who represent you within the University, it can make you more aware of university life and give a valuable insight into how learning and projects outside of the lecture theatre are managed effectively. In my next few blogs I’ll hope to show that giving feedback can help you get the most out your experience at Queen’s. So, make sure you feel listened to, and like your opinion matters. Because quite simply, it does!
At the end of the day, let’s not ignore the fact that most of us are looking for our experience at university to help us get a better job. But if career prospects are high up on your priority list, surely showing that you care about helping to build upon and improve the practices of the institution you’ve attended is a plus for any employer. You never know, you might just find that being dynamic, active, engaged, (and all of the above buzz words) when it comes to your course and life at Queen’s, and being employable, are one and the same.
In short, show you can think outside the box and show you have an opinion on your experience at Queen’s. Watch this space – and we’ll try and give you a few hints and tips on exactly how to go about it…
Next week check back to find out about class representatives, what they do, how you can become one, or pass on your feedback to them. Then soon after I’ll be finding out how you can get involved with your Students Union. Finally, I’ll be touching upon ‘lecturer and module evaluation’. Those forms they hand out and the end of every semester, do they really make a difference?