Life prep

How students can use their education to plan ahead

Life prep

Some students have a hard time taking certain classes seriously because they can’t see how the theory applies to their lives. For example, students who are in the field of art or communications may resent having to take trigonometry because it seems unrelated to their field. However, these classes are still required and students have to learn how to motivate themselves to still do their best. What's one way to show students the importance of their classes? Evidence and real-life examples of success stories are often your best bet. We talked with Dori Bradford, a student who uses her background in engineering and robotics to build and race cars, to help show you, and your students, how what students learn in class can be applied to their real-life efforts.


Learning the basics

When asked about her secondary school education, Dori said “taking all of the preparatory classes really helped me learn the basics that I needed to be able to build [a race] car and participate on the team.” While she was not always interested in cars specifically, she has always enjoyed building and figuring out how things work. This interest is what led her to the racing team. “I was given the opportunity to participate…because I was taking the drafting class at the tech school and I had prior electronics knowledge from participating in robotics,” says Dori.


Preparing for the future

After she completes her education, Dori plans on going into a structural engineering career. “I like to create and build and know how things work. I also really like that it’s ok to break things in engineering,” Dori explains. “It’s just pretty great.” This career choice links to her background in robotics and her experiences on the team. In school, she was knowledgeable about electronics and was familiar with engineering with her team members, and this is why Dori believes that her education has helped her racing career. “I think that a big part of robotics is engineering, so it allows me to practice and play with things and find out how they work.” She uses these learned skills in her racing and building life.

Although she has been educated in the technical aspect of building, the team has also taught Dori about working in groups, which all students can count on doing in college. Her team’s goal is to take first place in the GreenPower Race Finals. Dori admits that her team’s competition is fierce, but they have a plan. “We’re working on perfecting all of our details so that we can be an even better competitor,” she describes. It seems that Dori’s experiences in and out of the classroom have broadened her interests and currently are preparing her for her career as a structural engineer.

Reiterating Dori’s story, interests, and education is the best way to motivate your students to pursue their own passions within their education. It is possible that one particular class is out there that will change their entire worldview and will inspire them to go into a certain career or to a certain college. Let your students know that their educations will prepare them for their post-school lives and can even help them discover their calling. If Dori could do it, so can your students.

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