How can we encourage college students to become street smart?It is but essential that all students, particularly those in colleges, become street smart.
What is meant by street smartness? This means an ability to be seen as both creative and innovative, alive to all opportunities available in the particular environment, being and becoming aware of job opportunities and so on.
I shall narrate a real life experience. Years ago, four students, all of them MBAs from very average Arts and Science Colleges in Madurai and beyond (South Tamil Nadu) were recommended by one senior professor, known to me, but known to only two of the girls, who had done BBA in a local college. However, the professor assured me that their attitude was very good indeed.
The four girls sought my help to find jobs in Chennai. Personal one-to-one interviews with each of the four girls revealed that their knowledge of spoken English was almost zero. They had somehow passed their MBA degrees with the help of bazaar guides that offer ready made solutions to such learners, in terms of just passing the particular papers. Yes, the MBA standards in Arts and Science Colleges in most of Tamil Nadu, even today, is pathetic.
Yet, the girls had the desire to develop. Initially, they were dazed by the smart girls and boys of Chennai city. However, after joining a local BPO organization, where their knowledge of Tamil was just about sufficient to get their first job, for a salary that was just Rs.5,500/- to start with, they went about systematically upgrading their skills in spoken English, by rubbing shoulders with the smarter boys and girls, and also enrolling in a local institute for spoken English skills. It so happened that one teacher in that institute, who saw the fire in their bellies took personal interest in coaching them.
They not only became street smart, but also shifted to better BPO organizations within the next fourteen months. Another one year down the line, each of them found lucrative slots in better BPO organizations.
What really mattered was their attitude. However, such girls are rare. Even in cities, we often find those without much initiative. We notice many who do not do their homework, are demotivated and are out of touch with the real world opportunities.
One solution is to get them to interact with those who are otherwise very intelligent and who have already succeeded as entrepreneurs. Another method is to instill confidence in them, even at the plus one and plus two stages and then convert their attitudes into looking far beyond their knowledge boundaries.
Readers may also contribute their own views and experiences in this regard.