Experiential Learning

Learning by experience (experiential learning) is probably the most important activity to engage in while in college. I believe most students go to college precisely for these opportunities, although you rarely hear a student respond to “Where are you going to college?” with the response of “the place where I have the most opportunities!” Every college campus provides numerous ways to collect these experiences – but you, students, must be on the look-out for them.

Recently, a fun and funky friend of mine, provided me an experiential learning opportunity (as a 30-something adult). She honored me with a media pass to a festival which provided me access to take photos of musicians, bands and rockstar in the Media Pit! This bout with photography was really interesting in multiple aspects. First, being so close to the stage and the musicians was exciting! Second, watching professional photographers in action, running around the pit, bumping into each other – and being quite polite about it, climbing on fences and scaffolding was nuts! These individuals are only given 1-2 songs, or about 10 minutes in the pit, to get great shots. Third, noticing all the stage lighting, especially during the evening performances, makes one wonder, how do any of these photos look good with all those colors changing every few seconds. Additionally, the musicians aren’t posing for pictures, so the photographer has to know how to get a good shot, no matter what the performer is wearing or how s/he is standing/dancing/moving on stage.

My friend, Susan, tapped into experiential learning in college by writing for the campus’ weekly newspaper. Through this experience, she found her love of writing and photography. Today, she continues with this passion in two ways: 1) by interviewing bands for an Atlanta, GA, music publication (note: she lives in California), and 2) photographing musicians at concerts around the U.S. Currently, being a “rocktographer” is not her full time gig, however, she has a true passion for the industry and continues to pursue avenues to make this work a full time career.

So, student! How are you, or how will you, engage in experiential learning before the end of the term? Here is a photo of Susan, and our favorite band  at the festival: The War On Drugs!

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