A little advice to students
As the semester comes to a close, students in my college communication class and I would like to share with you some of our thoughts.
Let me begin by telling you that I’ve been there: two kids, working full-time, no support from home, driving long distances to campus, and wanting to make good grades.
My students indicate the following reasons for why their peers screw up, quit coming to class, don’t turn in their papers, fail to read their assignments or report for tests. If you’re in one of these categories, which reasons apply to you? It is too late for you to turn this ship around?
• They spread themselves too thin with jobs, kids, community responsibilities, and school;
• They’ve been conditioned to believe they can’t succeed, and their current status is proof of their incompetence;
• They aren’t motivated;
• They thought college was going to be easier than it is;
• They have anxiety about some of the assignments, such as making a presentation for the class;
• They have a family crisis or emergency;
• They are behind with their work and believe they can’t catch up;
• They have problems with the two-day schedule of college classes after high school five-days-a-week classes with faculty monitoring their performance more closely.
Let’s be realistic. The drop period with a grade of “W” for withdrawal has passed at most colleges and universities. That grade of “D” or “F” is going to be with you anytime anyone needs your college transcript: employer, another college, graduate school. And many of those people will not buy your explanation that Grandmother got sick that semester.
Motivation and time management are key here. You won’t manage your time if you can’t determine what will motivate you. For me it was always self-respect: I wanted to prove to myself that even though I was behind with my work, I could still make that “A.” So I turned off the television, didn’t answer the phone and notified my immediate family that unless they were bleeding profusely , they were to leave me alone while I caught up. And no one suffered because of my concentration on academics.
You know what you can eliminate: all-day Saturday football, organizing the church raffle, going to the movie, visiting an old drinking buddy. You, however, must do it as no one can do it for you.
The next step is to write down a plan with your calendar in hand. This might require calling or emailing teachers to determine if they are willing to work with you. Believe me, most want to see you succeed. And succeed does not always mean a grade of “A”: it can meet a “B” or a “C” at this point.
The third step after you’ve eliminated non-essentials, consulted with faculty and mapped out a plan is to JUST DO IT! Find a place — the college library, the public library, a place in your residence- where you can be alone with the tools you need. Have a question? That’s what the Learning Center at your college is for as well as the “email a tutor” function. Just charge ahead with the assignments you can do while you wait for a response from an e tutor.
Enjoy the high you get from posting or emailing those assignments and seeing your “To Do” list get smaller and smaller as you whittle away at it.
When the semester ends and your grades are in with nothing lower than a “C,” congratulate yourself, reward yourself for taking charge of your life, for finishing what you started.
And if you need my advice, just email me. I want you to succeed, and that’s why I wrote this column.
Vivian Blevins is a consultant for the Training Solutions Group Inc. who teaches courses in writing and literature for major telecom company employees. Reach her at (937) 778-3815 or firstname.lastname@example.org.