[Reposting this, with slight modifications, from a year ago. I offer useful information for students who want to succeed.]
To all of our returning students, Welcome back!
And to the new faces on campus, Welcome!
It’s time to get serious about learning. Here are links to a few blog posts that I have written over the past few years in which I offer some guidance to students about how to succeed. I tend to think beyond immediate success in a course; these posts address issues related to doing what you need to do now so that you can get on with your life after college.
- Starting Over – Thoughts at the start of a semester
- It’s in your hands
- Thoughts on Success
- Grad School Admission
- Grad School Acceptance
- Finally, a link to something written by another prof at a different institution. More of a how-to guide for college success. I was made aware of this by an Albion grad who has succeeded – PhD and now tenure-track position at another liberal arts college.
And to students who haven’t yet figured this out: professors are here to help you learn. Ask us questions, come to our office hours, view us as your allies in the quest for knowledge. If you want to understand something, we will work hard to make that happen. If you want a good grade we can’t do much for you.
A desire to understand will lead to good grades; a desire for good grades will not lead to understanding.
Four principles that will serve you well (from another prior post):
- Show up. Woody Allen said that “80% of success is just showing up.” This is certainly true. Attend class regularly, and you’ll be 80% of the way there.
- Be prepared. “Chance favors the prepared mind,” as Louis Pasteur said. By doing the assigned readings and coming to class having thought about the material you will find the favor of which he spoke.
- Be open. True education requires a level of openness that we do not all possess. There is, however, a balance that must be maintained: “By all means let’s be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.” – Richard Dawkins
- Confront your ignorance. You don’t know everything, nor do I. Recognize the material that you don’t understand and ask questions about it. “What the mind doesn’t understand, it worships or fears.” – Alice Walker
Looking forward to a great semester as we grow together.
(Now – begin to confront your ignorance: if you do not recognize the people I have quoted, get to work. Knowledge is only a Google away.)