The educational goals

Today many students go to school without any direction and goals. Some only want to pass tests and get a degree, then thinking about what they want to do with their lives later. Some even believe that their parents will take care of them after they get a college degree.

Twenty-five years ago when I started to teach, I believed that most students knew the purpose of their education and had career goals. I was wrong as many did not so I had to spend the time to discuss with them about the purpose of a college education. Eventually, it became part of every first-year class that I teach by having a career planning discussion to set the educational goals on the first day. I start by asking students to write a short essay on why they are going to college and what career that they want to do. After reviewing them, I start a discussion with them about career planning.

I explained: “Education is NOT about going to class, reading books, memorizing facts, passing exams, and getting a job, but also learning about the world surrounding you. You should know what is happening in the industry and your society then determine your roles in it. You need to ask yourself what you will do after graduate as well as your responsibility to yourself, to your family, and to your society. Since we are living in a “connected world” where everything is interacting with others so you must know what is happening in the world and the current events in other industries, businesses, and how they impact your country.”

“Today there are a lot of useful information on the Internet but you have to select them for your benefit. If you want to learn more about technology, there are thousands of websites that you can learn from. If you like to learn about the universe, the stars and the moon, there are also thousands of them too. There are so many topics, so many materials available and all you need is to take advantage of that instead of wasting precious time on trivial “Movies stars” or “Rockstar’s” websites then engage in meaningless conversation on Facebook. As students, you should spend your time to learn as much as you can because time does not wait. Without learning something useful NOW, in the next few years you will have to face the reality of growing up as an “ignorant person” where you will be told and have to conform to anything, without any choice because that is the only way to live. Even you do not like it, what are you going to do?

“As students, you go to school to get educated and learning something useful for your lives, not just passing exams and getting a piece of paper called a “degree.” Having an education will prepare you to lead productive lives, become good citizens for your country, and be better human beings. To do that you need to plan your career as soon as possible and set the educational goals that you can achieve. Some of you may think I still have four more years to do that so why hurry? Why do I need to plan now? But without educational goals, how do you know your destination? Can you travel without a destination? In that case, anything can be a destination and you will make many mistakes. You will jump from one field of study to another, or take one class here and one class there without any direction. That is why we have many unemployed graduates today.

Knowing your educational goals or where you will go will help you to plan your career. Knowing your career will help you to take useful classes that can help develop your knowledge and skills. A career plan is a map that helps you to get to your destination. As you travel on your educational journey, you know what lies ahead, what is the best road, what are the obstacles and what you need to do. And that is why I believe every student must set their education goals then design a career plan as soon as possible. Afterall, it is your life, it is your career, and only you can decide what to do with it.”


  • Blogs of Prof. John Vu, Carnegie Mellon University
Don't forget to follow us on Facebook!