Mechanical engineering junior Jack Fisher mills a part for a design class. Carsten Frauenheim

As the 2017-18 academic school year comes to an end, Cal Poly graduates prepare to enter the workforce. Many students’ experiences at Cal Poly have been dictated by the Learn by Doing mantra that has made a Cal Poly  degree so valuable. As the motto of the university, Learn by Doing goes much further than the classroom.

During college, mathematics senior Karl Enander discovered that it is up to the student to create the education they want to have.

“I have learned that the best learning comes from understanding things yourself,” Enander said.

“Even though it might be nice to have information handed to you, you are going to have more intuition and be able to apply the results more effectively if you learn something yourself.”

Opportunities outside of the classroom

Child development senior Dan Cardiff said he has benefited from his experience at Cal Poly. Cardiff has been involved outside of the classroom, both as a Poly Rep and as the Block P president for student athletes, a leadership development program designed for Cal Poly Athletics’ members.

“With my major, there is a built-in internship component that has been really cool,” Cardiff said. “I’ve been able to benefit from the hands-on experience, working in the on-campus preschool lab. My major has definitely taught me a lot, but I think Learn by Doing goes far beyond the classroom.”

Put in the effort

While a degree is certainly valuable, Enander said independent learning has been vital to his preparation after graduation.

“At Cal Poly, I’ve learned that being your own teacher can be useful post-college. I feel like being an independent learner is an invaluable skill to have in the sense that it lets me learn beyond my college education. With my major, I’ve learned to problem solve and understand complex problems on my own,” Enander said.

In addition to practical skills learned in the classroom, campus clubs also provide a rewarding Learn by Doing experience.

According to Cardiff, Poly Reps and Block P have set him up for life after college.

“Outside of classes and coursework, I feel like being part of Poly Reps has helped me be an ambassador for the university and to showcase the Learn by Doing experience, giving campus tours and talking to potential students who will benefit from this experience,” Cardiff said. “Likewise, Block P has been huge for developing leadership skills and preparing me for my career path after graduation.”

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