2244 Interview-Gerry Ward, pictured above, is a graduating senior at the University of Texas at Austin with a major in Biomedical Engineering. Gerry likes to spend his free time playing the bass with his friends and playing ultimate Frisbee at Zilker. Being from the Dallas area, Gerry hopes on staying in Texas after graduation and finding a job that gives him the time to spend with his bass and his dog. Below is our interview conducted in the heart of downtown Austin.
"What's your major?
I'm majoring in Biomedical Engineering.
What's the most valuable lesson your major has taught you?
I really value the leadership skills I learned in my classes and labs. I think it's important to learn how to correctly research information and I'm thankful for the opportunity I have to practice that.
What are your plans after graduation?
I want to go straight into the Bioengineering industry, although I'm not sure where.
What advice would you tell someone confused on what to major in?
That really depends on what they feel most comfortable with. Most of the time students change majors based not on what they want to do at first but because their original major is too difficult, I think it's important to have realistic expectations on the workload you can handle and how well your major will prepare you for a job.
How has your education prepared you for the work place?
It has given me more insight into the engineering process, which is obviously very useful in the engineering field. More importantly, I think my education had taught me how to find out information I don't know and how to wrestle with difficult problems.
Does college effectively prepare students for "the real world"?
In my opinion, not as much as it should. My major teaches us how to think quantitatively, but I think there should be more diversity in the classes we should take so we are exposed to different ideas and develop more qualitative skills.
Why did you decide to go to college?
I decided to go to university-and specifically UT- because I thought it would allow me to get a better job than a high school degree. College offers some peace of mind that it won't be so hard to find a job as an adult. My parent's expectations also played a heavy hand in my decision.
Would you have done anything differently?
Not really; going to college is a necessary thing for a good section of the upper tier work force. I'm glad I chose a major that directly translates into what my job responsibilities would entail, it helps me feel prepared.
Has your major affected your outlook on life? How so?
No, it hasn't affected me much. You don't learn much about life in an engineering class.
What's a misconception people have about college?
That it is very hard. I will say it is not easy, but so long as you go to class and do homework, passing through college is easy. Getting straight A's is the more difficult thing. Of course there are extenuating circumstances, but I think too many people do not attempt to pursue higher education because they think it's too hard. I think this stigma keeps people from realizing it's easier than it's made out to be.
Graduation is a very transformative period for many people, how do you hope to grow as a person after graduation?
I hope to get a job, though I'm not sure what the future hold for me. I hope to continue to grow as a person and I want to be a life-long learner. I hope that I continue to do hobbies I enjoy, like playing the bass and guitar. I have a love for music and I want to develop in my interests as well as my profession.
Do you have any closing remarks on college, the state of today's work force, or anything concerning students our age and what the world demands from them?
College is a very necessary thing in today's working world. Many times a job will turn you away for the simple fact that you hadn't gone to college even if you are smarter than someone who actually graduated. It is a badge of necessary prestige, really. I am concerned that colleges may start taking advantage of this fact and increasing tuition in order to capitalize on these facts."