Students, teachers need cooperation for better future

By Editorial Board

In these dire times, hope is not the only thing students are holding onto.

Not too long ago, the economy seemed to be chugging along just fine. Students walked down hallways thinking about homework due in two hours. School seemed a chore at times, and entertaining at others. There was no serious concern to the future possibility of a job. It seemed they were being prepared just fine.

Now, despair seems to hide in the corner of every classroom, and thoughts of future job prospects weigh down like boulders on students’ backs. Some students remain hard at work, but many disillusioned students are giving up on their dream jobs, while others remain as carefree and clueless as ever.

But what students need to do in these times is not despair-not to fear the future-but embrace the chaos as an opportunity for change. Teachers shouldn’t reinforce the students’ despair; they need to be realistic, yet optimistic in their instruction.

Many industries are said to be declining or on the brink of collapse, such as mainstream music and film, marketing,print journalism and others. But the necessity of these industries is far from disappearing. Rather than nearly collapsing, these industries are going through a transformation.

The future opportunities for any job are unclear, but even murkier is what those jobs will be. Rather than shy away from this inevitable change, students need to scale the slippery wall of a recession and re-invent these industries. Students who aren’t scaling the walls themselves could use some help with a good idea or two.

At this time, when old industries are losing their grip, the opportunity for new industries is wide open.

At Columbia, it’s easy for students to slip through the cracks and slack off. But there are also opportunities to thrive.

Some teachers try to be realistic and explain to students the doom that lies ahead, and although that’s partially true, some guidance and encouragement is needed. Rather than only issue warnings, teachers need to be aware of opportunities available to these students.

Teachers need to take time to show students advances in their respective industries and point them in the right direction, not only showing what has been done in the past but also looking to what could be done in the future. This isn’t just for full-time faculty. Adjuncts also need to show students where they can go for help and what they need to do to excel while in and out of school.

There is a huge network of artists right here in the South Loop. There is a Portfolio Center on our campus to help prepare students for job applications and interviews. There are internship coordinators constantly working and exploring ways students can practice in their fields. Even teachers themselves are resources right under students’ noses, as people students can network and even create with.

College can still be fun, but if the main goal is to find some place to party, students would have better luck investing $18,000 a year in beer and recycling their cans. A college degree is not worth the $70,000 or more spent on it. It’s the education and experiences that students can receive and the opportunities taken advantage of throughout college that will make the cost all the worthwhile.

Getting a college degree no longer creates the opportunities that it once used to-it hasn’t for a while. But, at the same time, institutions like Columbia are bursting with opportunities for students to advance themselves. Though students need to be responsible enough to take hold of any opportunities that come their way, colleges and instructors should still point them in the right direction.