A Case Against Pre-Professionalism

By Kyara Robinson.

Pre-professionalism is a concept that stems from the enforcement of standards. Standards are present wherever pre-professionalism exists. So pre-professionalism affects classrooms, society, and really all aspects of success. Acting as the conscience of pre-professionalism, standards affect students everywhere including myself. The individual effects are both negative and positive, but the focus should be on the drastic effect it has on the education system and work environments.

Students of the contemporary world are the survivors and victims of pre-professionalism, sacrificing their creativity, curiosity, and inspiration for letter grades or  test scores. The growing impact of pre-professionalism is affecting students ability to focus on growing into character driven people. Students, specifically adolescent students, are focused a lot on which college they will get into rather than enjoying their childhoods. Instead of playing, adventuring, and applying themselves to actions that will aid their curiosity, students spend more time focused on what degree they’ll be earning in the far future. The blame should not fall only on students aiming for success; it is also the fault of the institutions that take advantage of this ludicrous concept. Colleges, universities, and other educational institutions notice the re-calibration of the education system and on their part create an aura of hyper competitiveness.

Being a part of the top of my class, I’m surrounded with students who are afflicted with the disease of pre-professionalism. And the numbers prove it, with high level universities like University of California, Berkeley honing acceptance rates of 17.5% I can understand why 75 percent of the friends I asked, “Does school stress you out?” replied with an assuring, “yes.” With more and more students describing their relationship to school and ultimately learning, as depressing and stressful, my opinion solidifies. Clearly, there is a problem with the need to succeed. Though my peers  and I complain about all aspects of school, social to academic, there is a consensus negative opinion about they way school makes each of us feel. We are constantly held up to expectations we must battle each other to meet. We are always at war for the best grade, the best score, or the best commentary, when in all actuality we should be working together to fight the system that has put us against each other.

Many people don’t take our arguments against the practice of pre-professionalism seriously, claiming that it helps much more than it hurts, the education system and the workforce. Professionals, educators, and industry leaders see pre-professionalism as a way to foster stronger candidates for universities, which in turn creates better equipped professionals for their work fields. But that whole concept is wrong, as rather than generating a crop of well prepared workers, it minimizes the type of people that can be considered a “well prepared worker.”  While emphasizing a “Cream of the crop” culture may inflict some students to strive for the best, it also diminishes hope that all students can succeed.

To rid the American education system of this detrimental theory there must be a true relationship between students and learning. We must also ween ourselves off of the philosophy that we must punish or shun students who do not meet a set of standards. Instead of punishing these certain students, we should align them to their own set of standards. Treating students as individuals instead of herds would drastically affect the way students approach learning. With these changes we must also implement new ways of evaluating students. It is vital that we retire old definitions of success and prosperity and replace them with a student’s individual ideas. The most effective ways to withdraw from pre-professionalism is to: introduce novice and apprentice level education, hands-on tactile educational environments, mentorship programs, and to create independent relationships with the abstract idea of learning.  The implementation of these kinds of programs and processes will be the catalyst to redefining success and killing the theory of pre-professionalism.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Bev Ward-Gregg says:

    What a fresh new perspective!! Your insights and observations of your peers is noteworthy! I hope many will read this with the appreciation that I have for you and your writing!


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