Thursday, March 20, 2014

Keep it Real

Another week is coming to a close and it’s time to take stock of how you’re doing.  If you need some help, check out the personal habits inventory  (from the Resources) on my website.  Hopefully each week you will find that you can check “Most  Always” for items more than you are checking “Hardly Ever.”  However, as long as you find yourself making progress and moving along over time.

The semester ends in 5-6 weeks (depending on your school) and now is the time to kick it in gear.  Some of you are already there and I encourage you to stay the course and don’t burn yourself out.  Find a way to balance your academic pursuits with things you enjoy and allow you to get away for a while.  The NCAA basketball tournament is a great distraction when you need to lose yourself in something completely non-academic.

Now, if you’re experiencing some challenges, let me encourage you to take an honest look in your academic mirror and think about what you can do differently.  Be real with yourself.    If your first one or two exams in a course didn't go well, then you have a bit of ground to make up if you are aiming for a passing grade.  Earning that grade isn't impossible, but doing so means you will have to make some different decisions.  Go to office hours if you haven’t been.  If you are going, go more.  Incorporate some time at your campus’ academic success center into your time management plan.  If you are making up ground, your time management plan will be much tighter than the person who is seeking to maintain.

Whatever you do, aim for excellence.  The idea is that you will complete each semester with a GPA and knowledge base that will make you competitive for whatever you seek to do and give you options.  The person who graduates from college with the minimum required to complete a degree has very few, if any, options.  And that’s real!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Planning to Succeed

How is your semester and/or freshman year plan coming along?  Are things happening the way you imagined or does it feel like curve balls are being thrown at you?  The more you can establish a routine and work with your time management plan, the fewer curve balls you'll get.  By no means am I saying you won't have any curve balls, but the ones you get will be more manageable if you have a handle on other classes.

As a freshman student, you are fulfilling general education requirements and perhaps one or two major requirements each semester. The same way every student is different, every major is different, but there should be at least one course each semester that doesn't push you to your intellectual limits, leaving room for you to put more effort into the more challenging ones.  Take advantage of that balance now because no matter what your major, at some point you will have a semester with several challenging courses and find yourself studying hard all the time.

I've said it once and I say it again, many times your GPA and transcript aren't a reflection of your intellect so much as they are a reflection of the decisions you make.  You have 7-8 more weeks to make work on making your plan happen.  Make good decisions (studying before you go out, getting up and going to class etc.) and you'll have fewer regrets in May.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

And the Oscar Goes To . . .

In honor of Sunday's Academy Awards, I want to use the emotional and poignant speeches of a few winners for this week's post.  These are people who've worked very hard at their craft and have put it a large amount of effort to get where they are.  Some are more well known than others and some have been working at this longer than others.  However, they all have made something amazing happen and have been recognized by their industry for their work.  I take this as inspiration and hope you do, too.

Lupita Nyog'o is more or less a newcomer to the film industry.  When she affirmed that "no matter where you are from, your dreams are valid" she was talking to every one of you who takes the time to read this blog and so many who don't.  How does she know? She knows because it happened to her.  What she has done would make one think she is an overnight sensation.  Sensational she most definitely is, but it didn't happen overnight.  She has a degree in film and theater studies and a masters degree in acting from Yale School of Drama.  She worked to make this happen.

Jared Leto also worked to make things happen.  He, too, attended schools for the arts and spent time honing his craft.  Becoming good at something takes an investment of many hours and multitudes of energy.  He was encouraged by his mother, as many of you are, using her support as his strength. Televisions shows, independent films, blockbusters all are in his repertoire.  He's portrayed many types of characters, demonstrating range and adaptability, both of which can be helpful in many fields, not just acting.

We all know Matthew McConaughey and we know he has been acting for a while.  He is another example of an actor who worked years for the type of acknowledgement he received Sunday night.  Many films and many characters.  He also acknowledged his support -- his family.  Family can be important as you enter this very different and very challenging phase of your life (and beyond).  Family can often be the source of strength and when they have your back, you know it.  Use family to help you grow and succeed.

So the moral of this story is to recognize your talent, put in the time, and the rewards will come.  For some, they come faster than others.  For some, the reward is knowing that you've done your absolute best and are proud of your performance.  That goes for actors .  . . and students.