Show Up. Dive in. Stay at it. Sometimes you’ll win. Sometimes you’ll lose. Presuming a reservoir of goodness in others can be a risk, and there will be times when the process disappoints you. But for those of us fortunate enough to have been a part of this work, to see it up close, let me tell you, it can energize and inspire. - President Barak Obama
,This is not a political post.
As I listened to a replay of President Obama's farewell speech on the way to work, the above quite really stuck with me. I thought, "This is applicable to almost anything." Whether you love the prez or have issues with him, I hope that you will receive this message. I would like to frame his words in the context of academic success.
Get out of bed.
This is the first of a series of important steps. Just getting out of a warm bed can take much labor, but your academic goals will not be achieved underneath your covers, so roll out of bed and begin your day.
Go to class.
Whether attendance is taken or not, if you are not an expert in the subject, go to class! Assume that you do not know everything. Assume that you are not the one creating the exams. Assume that there are somethings you will miss and regret missing if you are not there to receive it.
Did I Miss Anything?
Nothing. When we realized you weren’t here
we sat with our hands folded on our desks
in silence, for the full two hours
Everything. I gave an exam worth
40 percent of the grade for this term
and assigned some reading due today
on which I’m about to hand out a quiz
worth 50 percent
Nothing. None of the content of this course
has value or meaning
Take as many days off as you like:
any activities we undertake as a class
I assure you will not matter either to you or me
and are without purpose
Everything. A few minutes after we began last time
a shaft of light suddenly descended and an angel
or other heavenly being appeared
and revealed to us what each woman or man must do
to attain divine wisdom in this life and
This is the last time the class will meet
before we disperse to bring the good news to all people on earth.
Nothing. When you are not present
how could something significant occur?
Everything. Contained in this classroom
is a microcosm of human experience
assembled for you to query and examine and ponder
This is not the only place such an opportunity has been gathered
but it was one place
And you weren’t here
Meet with your Academic Advisor.
Everyone is busy, including your advisor, so being busy all semester is not a reason to avoid preparing for your future. Your advisor can connect you with resources that you and your friends may have no idea exist. If you are in need, come on over. During the semester, the Advisement Services Center advisors are open to students of all majors via walk-in, Monday - Friday, 1-5pm.
So you are in the class. Now what? You cannot learn by clairvoyance or osmosis. You have to work. Dive in. It does not have to be painful, but sometimes – many times, it is. It should be and will be challenging. Growing means shedding the exoskeleton of your former habits. It means letting go of what you used to do. It means getting out of your comfort zone. So Dive in. Let your mind work and expand to consider new perspectives. You do not have to agree with everything that you learn, but be willing to consider different arguments and develop the skills to discuss or debate them in a respectful manner using research and facts, rather than mere conjecture. That subject that has nothing to do with your major, will, if you allow it, help you to grow and understand the world a little better than you used to, if you let it. Whatever you do, do it fully. “Ain’t no Half Steppin’” – Big Daddy Kane
So dive in and if you need help, ask. Ask! ASK!
Stay at it.
There will be many times when you will ask your self, "Why am I putting myself through this misery?" For many students, we call these times "midterms" and "finals week". If you have failed a class or all of your classes because of fill in the blank with your reason, you may want to give up on your goals or your dreams. Let me assure you that there is usually more than one road to any mountain top. Sometimes you may travel a previously carved out trail, and other times, you have to bushwhack a trail for yourself. Be willing to make adjustments to your plan and to your timeline for achieving your objectives. It is also ok if your plans change. Growth and experience can cause one's goals to change. This is not giving up, this is growing up and making wise decisions. If you cannot conceive of how to do this (new path - new plan configuration), come and see your advisor or a counselor in the office for Career and Professional Services. Never give up on you!
Welcome! My name is Rachel Moody. I post weekly announcements and messages to motivate and inspire my UAlbany advisees, and any one else who visits. Comments are welcome! While you are here, have a virtual cup of tea!