The Importance of Real-Life Experience in Learning

by Christopher Kurz

Day after day, college students sit in a classroom and listen to a lecture about something they may or may not be interested, and then are told by the professor to “read the textbook for the next class.” The student will then at some point read the chapter, go to class again, listen to another lecture, and continuously repeat the cycle. Sure, this traditional style of learning gives you the basic understanding of the material and provides you the general knowledge about the field that you need to know, but where does this finally apply to the real world?

In most cases, I find myself struggling to grasp how the information that I am learning in the classroom will relate to a real-life experience. As much information as I am taught, and as many assignments that I am required to do, I still find difficulty bringing these concepts I learn to life. That has been true in most cases, until I this semester when I had received the opportunity to work with The Stardust-Startup Factory as a part of my Social Media Marketing Course at Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York.

As a part of this course, I have been given the opportunity to become a student social media marketing consultant for The Stardust-Startup Factory. My main focus while working with this organization so far has been to develop and implement a social media strategy to help promote the Flatirons Climbing Festival that The Stardust-Startup Factory will be hosting in September of this year. Throughout my work with the organization, I have finally gotten the chance to bring my in-class learning experience to life. It has allowed me to take the information being taught to me and actually implement it in a real-life working atmosphere, and see how it applies in the real world.

All of the information about marketing a company or event through social media that I have been learning has become easier to understand through my use of it with The Stardust-Startup Factory. I have had to analyze other company’s strategies, developing an idea of what works and what doesn’t. From there, I had to develop a social media marketing strategy for gaining exposure for the Flatirons Climbing Festival. Using the techniques and platforms that I have learned in the classroom, I was able to create a plan of attack. Finally, after a tedious process of creating the plan, I finally got to implement it. I developed a Facebook page for the event (Which everyone should check out by the way!) and have been running since its development. Moving forward, I will continue to bring the knowledge that I learn in the classroom to further develop the social media, hopefully deeming it to be successful.

I cannot stress how grateful I am for the opportunity. The experience that I have been receiving has taught me so much more than any traditional lecture ever could. I have learned the importance of organization and planning for the future. I have learned that communication among colleagues is key in running a successful operation. I have learned that sometimes, as easy as something may sound on paper, you actually have to put a lot more effort into it if you want to see the results. Ultimately, I have learned how all of the lectures and knowledge that I learn in the classroom relate to actually using it in real life.

This experience has been something that will stick with me as I continue moving forward in life. I would like to thank Professor Stamp for organizing this opportunity so that I am able to be immersed in a hands on atmosphere and also Laura Jean Palmer-Moloney for allowing me to take on this opportunity. The opportunity to work with The Stardust-Startup Factory has been one of the most influential learning experiences that I have had in my college career, and I can’t thank either of you enough.

I hope that everyone is able to experience a similar hands-on opportunity at some point in their time in college so that they are able to see how the classroom relates to real life.