The “7 Survival Skills” – Curiosity & Imagination

The “7 Survival Skills[1],” established by Tony Wagner, contribute to your success at Sheridan College, in your career. These blogs posts are dedicated to explaining how you can gain these skills in and outside the classroom, how they may be positioned as interview questions, and tips on how to effectively respond. To start from the beginning click here.

banner curiosity

What is it?

Curiosity is the strong desire to learn or know something. It may also be referred to as the desire to learn.

Imagination is the process of forming ideas of concepts and producing creations, projects, and campaigns. This may also be referred to as creative, innovative, or forward thinking. 

In the Classroom

By coming to Sheridan you have already engaged your curiosity. You attended Sheridan to learn something new; to develop skills you did not have previously.

You are developing these skills by taking part in class discussions, and projects. Think out of the box when assignments provide the room to do so. You can also demonstrate a desire to learn (curiosity) by dedicating yourself to learning from others: new approaches, new techniques, new ways of thinking, learning, and adapting their own styles to develop the “7 Survival Skills.”

Outside the Classroom

These are difficult skills sets to demonstrate; it comes with passion and engagement. It is difficult to be curious and imaginative if you are not interested in what you are doing. If this is the case, try something new, check out different opportunities on campus, meet new people, get inspired. If you are not interested in class material, join a club on campus to engage yourself in something that engages your curiosity and imagination.

Club Opportunities: Academic Clubs & Social Clubs

Possible Interview Questions

    • What drew you to this position? or What excites you most about this position?
    • If I asked a classmate about you, what do you think they would say?
    • Tell me about a time when you have been creative in your work.  What was the situation and what did you do?
    • Tell me about a time when you noticed an emerging issue on a project. What did you do?
    • What/Who inspires you?
  • What are your strengths/weaknesses?

How to Answer

Use all of the suggestions from previous blog posts. Click here to start from the beginning.

This is most likely where the interviewer will ask “self evaluation” (about you) questions. This is your opportunity to describe how you are curious and imaginative.  For example:

  1. Explain how you developed a new event idea to attract more students.
  2. Explain how you approached a case study or class discussion topic, and how you came up with a new/innovate result.
  3. If given an opportunity to talk about yourself, describe how you are creative, your passions or how you imagine the world or the industry could be different.
  4. If an interviewer asks if you have used certain computer programs in the past, and you have not; tell them how willing you are to learn if you are. If you are at all familiar with the program, indicate what excites you most about the opportunity to learn.

If asked to describe your weaknesses, describe also how you are working toward improving. Also, try to avoid talking about personality weaknesses, as they are difficult to change.

  • Bad example: “I am too dedicated to my job and work too much.” OR “I am really not a morning person.”
  • Good example: “I have had trouble in the past with organization and prioritization. But lately I have been taking steps to correct this issue. I now keep a calendar and every day I begin by making a To Do list.” OR “I am not very familiar with ABC computer program your company uses. I am looking forward to learning; I pick up programs quickly and I believe it will add to my skill set.”

Final advice: be yourself. If any of these blog posts suggestions do not suit your personality, adapt them until they do so that you feel more comfortable and confident in interviews. Thank you for reading, and good luck!

Previous: Accessing & Analyzing Information

[1] Wagner, T. (2014). Tony Wagner’s Seven Survival Skills. Retrieved from

One Comment on “The “7 Survival Skills” – Curiosity & Imagination

  1. Great advice on how to answer the weakness question. Avoid stating a personality weakness is important. Personalities can take decades to make personal changes. The examples you have provided in the article are sincere, authentic, unique to the individual. Employers aren’t looking for standard answers. They are trying to get to know you in the interview. Thank you for the article.

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