TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:On learning to think From:Brian Martin <martin -at- sodalia -dot- it> To:TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com> Date:Thu, 09 Mar 2000 09:55:43 +0100
A quick reply to David Castro's comment:
"So the rest of you out there, especially the current
did you learn anything, and I mean anything at all, relevant
writing from the academic portion of college (I do not mean to
the interpersonal skills one learns in college are
unimportant)? Am I just
caught in an unfriendly system, or does academia's adherence
to method over
results actually hurt us all?"
Perhaps I'm stupid. But I went to college to learn about ideas not to
learn a profession. I can understand that there are people out there who
think only of that. But please. Be kind to yourselves, students. It's
not The Theory that's important, it's the structure. Scientists learn
the scientific method, and believe it or not, most of them adhere to it
Communicators need to have a method, too. When considering human
communication, no method fits all circumstances. So, we do our best to
learn methods that best fit a particular medium. When you get into the
working world, you'll have to use your own brain to determine how to
best get results.
Yes, there are those who spend too much time worrying about theory, and
not enough time actually getting to know the system they document.
Balance is important.
Get a balanced education. Learn the methods. But mostly, learn to
think. No one can prepare you for the working world. You'll have to
learn it by being there and doing that. It's a process of maturing. No
one should expect that any college undergraduate program will prepare
them for the working world. Universities teach you to think, not to
work. That's what they are for.
By the way, why is it that people think that at 18 they've learned
everything they're supposed to know? Give me a break. If you're not
still learning at 30, 40, 50 and beyond, you're not managing your life
or your career.