The quickest way to kill a career is to avoid. Avoid work, avoid communication, avoid confrontation etc.
Don’t fall into avoidance.
The only person who wants you to succeed more than your professors is your mom. Students sometimes take on an adversarial relationship with professors as though the professor is on one side and the student on the other. This COULD NOT BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH!!!!!!
We are on your side.
Our goal is to make sure that you reach your potential. That means that faculty are going to have to tell you the truth about the work you do in class. Sometimes that is “good job”! and sometimes that’s “go back and try again”. Please don’t mistake the critiques for our being disappointed in you. We are preparing you to compete in the workforce which means the best gift we can give to you is the truth.
I know this sounds a little cliché, but the age-old advice of communicating with your professors is TRUE. If you have any questions about ANY thing, ask them. Don’t let yourself get bogged down, ask early and ask often.
Professors at MBU are very approachable. They enjoy hanging around after class and answering questions because it shows them that you care about your success in their class. You will stand out to them in a positive way if you ask questions.
Your professors really want to hear from you because they truly want you to succeed. They want you to do well in their classes not only because it reflects directly on them as your professors, but because they are Christians and they care about you as individuals. It’s why they got into teaching and have chosen to teach at a Christian university.
Your professors can’t read your mind; you have to alert them if you have questions or problems. If you are shy, pick a way that is comfortable to you, like email or Blackboard discussions. But whatever you do, communicate with your professors.
Do not check emails and other unrelated sites on your computer while in class. You will “respectfully” be called out
University is time to find what you really love to do and you can have a great deal of fun doing it.
It wasn’t until university that I learned the joy of learning for learning’s sake, and where I learned to love the interaction with intellectual sparing partners. Both have become lifelong passions. Another way to get at this: “the content of what you’ve learned will largely be lost the day after getting your diploma, but the patters of study and the relationships with good friends will last a lifetime.” Some of those lifelong friendships will be with faculty. Respect them, but don’t be afraid of them. They aren’t into teaching for the money.
Develop a “first and ten” habit. First thing in the morning, spend 10 minutes reading a Scripture and praying. It will start your day off on the right foot and it can help establish a lifestyle of dependence on God rather than self. Your professors want you to succeed. But they also want you to realize your full potential, so expect them to stretch you beyond what you’ve been accustomed to in high school. Rise to the challenge and take pride in your achievements.
Your professors truly care about you as an individual. However, as interested or as nice as they may seem, they are still your professor and they still deserve the respect of the position they have earned. Address them by their proper titles (Doctor or Professor); craft your communications more formally than you would in a text message or a tweet to your friends.
Take personal responsibility. Success or failure is now based on your decisions and your effort. A little hint that might go a long way…the more upfront you are and accepting of personal responsibility, the more willing your professors will likely be to work with you to navigate a personal rough patch. If you deflect responsibility or try to pass blame, don’t expect to receive much grace.
Go to class (and stay awake)! You won’t risk missing a key detail that may not appear in a professor’s PowerPoint and it shows diligence and persistence. It conveys a sense of personal responsibility and it establishes a valuable habit of doing things that you may simply not feel like doing but that is expected of you. Get used to it. Your bosses will expect the same once you enter the workforce.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Even if you don’t know who to ask, just start asking. Ask the person sitting next to you in class, ask your coach, ask your professor. Someone will eventually know the answer or know who to contact to find the answer.
Learn the importance of a due date. Once in the workforce, due dates can mean the difference between keeping your job or standing in the unemployment line. Start practicing now.
Don’t get discouraged by first-semester mid-term grades. It can take a while for students to adjust to college life. Use those mid-term grades exactly how they’re meant to be used…as a progress report and use it as incentive to work hard, to stretch yourself and achieve more by the end of the semester. By the same token, if you are sinking, have a conversation with your professor and your academic advisor to evaluate whether you may need to consider dropping the course and re-enrolling at a later time.
Develop good study habits (both “how to” as well as when). If you’re unsure, don’t be afraid to ask! Also, the Academic Success Center has some great resources for developing study skills!
Be organized! Keep track of exam dates, assignment due dates, your work schedule, and your class schedule. You should receive a student planner. As nerdy as it may seem, use it! Or use your smart phone’s calendar to keep track of all your dates. Keep your notes organized. All materials for each class should be grouped together so that you can easily find what you need when it’s time to study or work on a specific assignment. The Academic Success Center has many resources for helping students to manage their time and materials.
Identify and get connected with a good mentor. This person can help you navigate through an unfamiliar system. Then listen intently to what is shared.
Take time to get to know and understand those that are from other cultures. This is a time when students can get to know people on their own terms and not necessarily based on what others have told them. The result could be a “valuing of diversity” and an appreciation for the incredible richness that it brings.
Take advantage of the student resource center. Practice your writing.
Do not communicate with your professor using text message shortcuts that you use with your friends. As a matter of fact, it’s a good idea to start formalizing your writing now so that the transition is not so difficult.
Keep the main thing the main thing. Don’t get side tracked by shiny objects. (I could expound, but I know that you get it.)
Class attendance is not optional. Go to class with a positive attitude and have confidence in your ability to learn. It will go a long way.
Get to know your professors and don’t be afraid to ask for extra help or more feedback. The positive influence of a good mentor can continue long after college is over.
The skills that you learn in one class can be applied to many others. Be sure to pay attention and think long-term.
Don’t procrastinate. There is a reason you receive a syllabus in the beginning of class. Know your deadlines and expectations and manage your time well.
Realize that you are responsible for yourself. It may be tempting to skip class to have an extra long lunch but it will be that much harder to catch up.
Take advantage of all of the resources available to you. Everyone on campus is here to help and see you succeed.
The first things that came to my mind were “get involved” and “try new things.” College presents a unique opportunity of being able to explore a variety of interests before settling on one career field. So, I would advise students to maximize their elective courses by taking a variety of classes and saying yes to opportunities outside of the classroom like mission/study abroad trips and student organizations/clubs. It’s also a crucial time of self-development/discovery, so I would advise students to be inquisitive, seek out opportunities to meet new people and try new things that may stretch them beyond their comfort zones.
Don’t be afraid to try new things. Now is the time to discover who you are and shape who you want to be.
Form good habits now. It has been said that the decisions you make in college form the habits you will have for the rest of your life.
Accept responsibility for your education. You may not consider yourself an adult yet, but your professors do. We care about you and your education, but ultimately it’s all up to you.
Get involved. Education is about more than just getting a diploma at the end of four years. The co-curricular activities you participate in are just as important as the curricular when it comes to shaping character and experience.
Focus on the goal…a good education and preparation for your career. However, do not be so focused on preparing yourself for the life that you want that you miss out on living in the moment that you’re in. Laugh, love, dance and sing.
Ask for help. Whether it is your first time to attend a university or you’re a transfer student, do not expect to know where to go, what to bring, how to find something. ASK. Part of the Christian environment is that we treat each other as we would want to be treated: with kindness and an outpouring of Christian love. So ask anyone, be it another student, a teacher, a staff member. If they don’t know, they will find someone who will.