A post over at College Ready Writing today was one I wish I could get my students and all the college students I know to read. It is called Key to College Success: Be Prepared for the Worst. She offers some good advice.
Dr. Lee Elaine Skallerup, the author, starts off talking about what she tries to help her students with in terms of academics:
So much of what I do with those students is related to providing them with the reading, writing, research, and critical thinking skills that they will need to get their degrees.
But she isn’t just teaching them to write. She is concerned about what happens to her students outside of class. She continues:
… it is often the things that happen to us outside of the classroom that derail our best efforts.
And I’m not just talking about the simpler choices we make, like going to a party instead of studying. I’m talking about when you have no money and no food. Or if you or someone you care about gets really sick, hurt or depressed. Or if you find yourself with a stalker. Or your professor just isn’t really all that helpful and you can’t understand your math homework. Sometimes fate steps in and hands you challenges that are stressful, distracting, and can really negatively impact your studies.
In an attempt to prepare her students for these non-academic situations, she gave them an assignment in which they had to create a list of resources for dealing with these kinds of problems. (I think that is a great idea! I may tweak it and use it with my writing class this semester.)
I know that so many of my students, especially those who are in my developmental classes, are already behind the 8-ball, so to speak, when it comes to the probability of getting their college degree. For me, it’s not just about the practical academic skills that will help them graduate; it’s about equipping them for anything life at university may throw at them, inside or outside of the classroom.
Too bad all professors aren’t as concerned about their students!