Thursday, November 28, 2013

First Semester Finish

It's Thanksgiving and we have a lot to be thankful for.  It may not seem like it for some of us, but we've made it. For better or worse .  . . hopefully better, the first semester of college is nearly over.  Regardless of  your academic performance, there have been lessons to learn.  Most freshman students don't hit the ground running, although sometimes it feels as though you're expected to know it all.  So it may take a few weeks, or an entire semester, to figure out what works.

As you go into the last days of class and final examinations, try to stay strong.  Know that cramming isn't the same as learning over the course of the semester, but keep working.  As an educator I encourage you to work on understanding concepts and submitting quality work, not just getting it done.  Use the resources on your campus to help you create an action plan or work through moments of uncertainty.  The writing center, your academic advisor, study groups, or even the counseling center.  Finishing strong is possible and you can do it.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Home Stretch

Well, it's May . . Cinco de Mayo . . . end of the semester.  If you are one of my freshmen, then you are close to or have recently wrapped up your first year of college.  Let me know how it's going for you.  What things have you learned about yourself as a student and person?  What words of wisdom would you tell first semester you back in August?  Share that with me.

If you are a graduating senior, you're not quite done.  You're in the home stretch.  Don't slow down or coast to the finish line.  This is the time to push harder and make sure all your hard work isn't for naught.  Take these last few weeks of high school seriously.  Cherish and celebrate them because you are about to close one chapter and begin another, but don't think you're home free until you've taken the ceremonious walk across the stage at commencement.  Continue going to class, doing homework, and studying for finals.  You owe it to yourself.  Look back with no regrets . . . and forward with no fear.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

It's February One and . . .

Today is the beginning of both Black History and Women’s Heart Health Months.  Both are very important, so it’s important that we all understand as much as possible about both.  Being African-American and female isn’t my motivation for wanting us to all be more educated. However, the experiences of being both may make me more open to understanding others and how regardless of our differences, we are all connected in some way.

That understanding isn’t always necessarily academic and this blog is.  So with that let’s talk about how it is also very important that our first-year college students implement their plans for a successful spring semester and our graduating seniors implement their plans for successfully completing high school and being accepted to college.  Plan, what plan? you ask.   Yes, it’s important to plan.  Often times you can get lucky or someone else can make things happen for you, but that is really the exception, not the rule.  So let’s get to it.

If you’re graduating from high school, finish strong.  Don’t slack off once you get accepted (and awarded scholarships) to college.  See it through and try really hard not to have “senioritis.”  It’s very easy to get distracted by all things graduating senior, but make sure you keep doing what works.  At commencement, look back with no regrets. 

If you’re a first-year college student, learn from the lessons of last semester.  Try new study strategies and use all the resources at your institution.  Tutors, writing centers, and office hours are all available to help you better understand.  Use them.  Ask questions.  Understand concepts.  Push yourself.  Nobody knows everything when they begin college . . . otherwise why go? 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Starting on the Right Foot

Every time we begin something new, many of us promise, vow, or resolve to do certain things.  When we have the opportunity to do something again, or similarly, we often say we'll do whatever "it" is differently this time around.  So what are you going to do differently this term?

We all have things to work on, so it's unlikely your answer is "Nothing."  Perhaps you didn't have the best GPA and you want to make better grades.  You could have earned a 4.0 last semester, but there are social/professional things you could have done.  Maybe joining a student organization is your goal.  No matter what it is, break your goal down into small, achievable tasks and get to work.

In the last post, I mentioned working on these specific, measurable tasks.  Try it; it works.  Not only does it break down a larger goal into smaller pieces, it also gives you things you can check off as you get them done.     Try it . . . and keep me posted.  I'll check back in a couple of weeks. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year, New Term!

Happy New Year!  Believe it or not, it's already 2013.  Every year seems to go by quicker than the last for me . . . but this blog isn't about me. (I have another one for that.)  This blog is about you.  So let's talk about you.

With or without the urging from my last post, hopefully you have begun to think about how to make your Spring Semester as good and productive as possible.  When you return to school, it will be time to implement your plan.  People make resolutions all the time, but frequently do not follow though past a few weeks.  Some good advice I've heard before and was reminded of  today is to be specific with your resolutions; the same goes for your plan.  For example, if you want to get a better GPA, identify specific goals that will help you get there: I will study 2 hours per night; I will go to office hours at least once per week and ask relevant questions when there; I will rewrite my class notes.  Each of these specific actions can be measured and collectively will contribute to your higher GPA goal.

Right now, most of you are taking general classes as freshman that most first-year students take.  As you matriculate, your courses will be more challenging and you will most likely have to adjust to keep pace, but start now by making plans and you won't be caught so off guard when your major classes begin to kick in.

Whatever happened last semester was last semester.  You have established a record as a college student.  It may be what you want and expected or you may have to make some adjustments. Either way, you  made it through and have some lessons you've learned from that first term.  You can make this term what you want it to be.  Own it . . . this education belongs to you, and you only!