A Group of Students Collaborating // startupstockphotos.com

By: Ian Ardelle, Layout Editor.

Many students who are entering a university typically have certain expectations of what the school can offer them. It may be credits to transfer to another school, the prestige which graduating from a school offers, or employment opportunities and programs for work, which can lead to a good income. While these expectations are significant and very useful, the most powerful resource goes far beyond the scope of job security, and is invaluable.

That resource is the ability to network and collaborate with your peers.

A university assembles a collection of young, driven intellectuals who seek to further their understanding of their field and pursue lucrative careers. In addition to having such a powerful mindset, many young people are especially creative and can accomplish greatness by channeling their creativity into productive means. This unique combination of youthful energy, diversity in experience, and like-minded determination, is very potent, and can lead to a generation of incredible projects that can result in both lucrative and productive outcomes, which other environments fail to support.

Take for example, the Bergen STEM Amateur Radio High Altitude Balloon (ARHAB). Several students collaborated on implementing improvements for this data collection balloon, and they are actively working to develop new designs, and to improve the existing ones. During the summer semesters, devices to capture meteor dust from high altitudes and measurements of atmospheric and positional data were implemented, and video cameras were installed to allow for recording of the experiments themselves – all controlled by radio. A project of that scale is very difficult to complete alone, since it requires knowledge and specialization of several fields, and ARHAB’s collaborative efforts are to credit for the improvements made.

Additionally, working with others allows for many opportunities in learning, which are otherwise unavailable. Higher education isn’t a single-player game; rather it’s an opportunity to express your specialties and talents, and to exchange your thoughts with others as your understanding of subjects grow. That means reciprocally, you should be able to expand your understanding of other specialties and enhance your education wholly by conferring with other people.

The overall purpose of a university is to prepare you for work in specialized fields beyond the realm of what high school covers. However, while understanding your major is a vital step in preparing for job responsibilities, expanding your knowledge outside of your field is a huge step too. This separates you from everyone else studying the same things, and allows you to both work more efficiently at a job, and give you more creative insight and knowledge to engineer solutions or designs in more ways than your peers.

On top of the professional development, you could make some new friends along the way, and that on its own is amazing.