Knowing the Difference: Want vs. Need

Recently, I had a Skype interview for a job that posed a really interesting and thought-provoking question.  I answered the question to the best of my ability and later on thought about all of the other answers I could have given (everyone does that, right?).  The question was a great one posed for higher education, but also got me thinking about certain things in life… and, who doesn’t love thought-provoking questions that encourage you to think about multiple things?

So- I figured … why not share?

The question:  Please provide us with something you feel that college students want, but don’t need and also with something college students need, but don’t necessarily want.  

During my interview I replied with an answer directed more towards Res Life, because that was the type of position I was interviewing for.  I spoke on the fact that students show up to college, often, with unrealistic thoughts of what it is like to live on a college campus because of the views that TV shows and movies provide.  Students want freedom, they want to feel like they’re able to do whatever they want, whenever they want and that they’re ready to take on the world.  In reality, I feel that students need someone there to help them transition into a new phase of their lives.  They don’t need a babysitter, or someone acting as a “helicopter” so to speak – but, people who are willing to mentor them, and help them on their way in casewantneed the get lost on the  brand new path they’re traveling – even if they don’t always want it.

Spark Notes Version:

  • Want, but don’t need = Complete freedom with no supervision
  • Need, but don’t (always) want =  Someone there to help them transition into a new phase of their lives

There are so many topics that can be brought to the table in regards to this question, in the realm of higher education.  At Rowan, one of the biggest topics of discussion when the new President was sworn in last year was that of making the campus even more focused on “Student Centeredness” than it already was.  By focusing on the students and all different types of student learners, Rowan (and all other institutions) would be giving the students what they need in order to develop skills so that they are able to have successful lives during and post-college.   By focusing on this question of want vs need in higher education, it really helps bring focus to student growth.

It was definitely an interesting question … and one I pose to the higher education community – both students and professionals.  What do you feel students want but don’t necessarily need – and vice versa?

 

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