Today is the first day of class, so I’ll be meeting a whole new crop of students. Some of them will probably be a little nervous, either because they are naturally overachievers and are always nervous about new classes, or maybe they’ve heard rumors about what a tough class this is. (Maybe they’re even nervous because they’ve heard rumors about me, but I neither confirm nor deny any of those.)
I make no secret, starting on the first day, about the demands they’ll be facing in this course. It’s their senior capstone, so it’s supposed to be challenging. Bringing together knowledge and skills in an applied project, working with a group, learning to analyze cases and think about theory and practice, meeting regularly with clients, trying to come up with proposals that are both creative and viable, managing client expectations, keeping up with the reading, maintaining the class blog… it’s a lot to handle. Especially when you factor in their other classes and, for many of the students, jobs and internships, maybe even family demands. Plus the fact that most are in their final semester, busy applying for jobs or grad school or trying to figure out what to do when they suddenly find themselves college graduates in May.
One way I try to help them understand why the course is designed this way, and how it is intended to help prepare them for their professional careers (and frame it in a much less frightening way than I did in the paragraph above) is to compare it to another PR: Project Runway. I’m not (too) ashamed to admit my love for this show, and I think it has a lot to teach anyone who hopes to work in a field that combines the creative and the practical. To wit: