Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Good Advice for College Students

I am currently working on my 3rd college degree. If there is one piece of advice that I can offer to students everywhere it's "be proactive" with everything.

That advice is a no-brainer when it comes to school work. If you procrastinate you only hurt yourself. But the one place you might think you are safe is with the administrative part of your college experience. I know when I first started my journey toward higher education I thought professors and administrators knew best. After all, I was just a mere minion in the grand scheme of things right? Wrong. I have lost count of how many times my files (paperwork, registration, grades etc) have been screwed up because of simple incompetence. What blows my mind is that often the incompetence is because of a professor with a doctorate and years of life experience. My latest fiasco is thanks to my college advisor who never approved my student teaching registration for the spring semester. Although I registered early and reminded her several times to please sign off on my request she still neglected to do so. During the winter break she is conveniently "unavailable" until the start of the semester. This doesn't help me or the other students left in a lurch.

Thankfully we have a dutiful teaching supervisor (retired high school principal) who works part time at the university. He happened to flag several of our accounts and brought it to our attention someone else needed to approve our requests or we would not be able to begin our assignments next week. Unfortunately those of us who needed approval had to schlep to the school and speak personally with a dean to have them over ride the approval.

I can't speak for the rest of the world, but the reason I want to be an educator is to help kids learn. That doesn't just mean that I have to be a lifelong learner myself. It means the whole kit and kaboodle: being technically proficient, grading promptly, keeping students, parents and coworkers well informed as well as looking for ways to help students succeed. If you do not possess that passion and take the necessary steps to ensure things get taken care of, maybe you should not work in education. You can't force someone to have a moral compass, but you can evaluate poor performance and take the necessary steps to correct a problem. This isn't brain surgery or rock science. It's common sense.

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