Students who commit do better

May 31, 2012 Commentary Print Print

“The first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: Decide what you want.” —Ben Stein


As we move into the summer semester, nearly half of 2012 is behind us already. Time continues its steady march into perpetuity, and students arrive on campus for another round of classes.

Whether you are newly graduated from high school, an older student coming to school after a hiatus, or a college student who wants or needs some credit for the summer, it is important to remember that this session will move forward whether you are prepared for it or not. In order to help yourself be as successful as possible, I encourage you to remember a few basic tenets:


1. Make the necessary commitments to be successful. Success will require that you show up, in person or online, ready to commit to whatever is asked of you in the syllabus. Being gung-ho for the first week and then faltering for seven won’t ingratiate you with your professors, especially if you plead for “extra credit” in July. For an academic relationship to work, you must show up and invest the time that is needed to perform the tasks that are required.

2. Be enthusiastic about learning something. Anything. There has to be a reason for you to take classes, but if you can’t think of a good one, you might want to reconsider this investment until you’re ready for it. Much of our experience in class depends on how we approach it and the attitudes we display. If you’re going to sit there looking bored, staring at your smart phone, and yawning every few minutes, your grades will reflect that. Put yourself into the mix by listening, asking questions and participating in discussions. You’ll enjoy the class more and learn more for your efforts.

3. Life doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Look for ways that the knowledge and skills you’re getting in class transfer out into other classes and to a future career. You may never have to discuss the short stories you study in English again, but you may be asked to organize your thoughts around a position you’ve taken and offer a logical argument for it.

4. Get outside of your comfort zone and take some risks. One beauty of college is that it allows you to meet and interact with people different from yourself. Try looking at life through other people’s eyes. We can’t mature and evolve without shedding our proverbial skins and growing new ones.

If you need a little help while you’re here this summer, remember that we in Student Support Services are always ready to assist you.

—Mary Turner

Learning Support Specialist

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