August 21, 2013


Before I left for college, my dad sat me down and taught me five principles, or steps that would ensure my  success in college. He taught these steps to my siblings as well and, so far, we have all graduated from college having done well, and have been successful in our careers.

      1. Don't skip class
photo c/o
One of the best things about college is that, in most cases, teachers don't take attendance, and that's great for emergencies so that you don't get penalized, but don't skip class just because you slept in, didn't get your homework done, etc. etc.

      2. Do your homework
photo c/o My Eclectic Loft
It is a psychological fact that reviewing what you've learned in class especially within 20 minutes after learning it, will help you retain the information better. Thus, homework is good to help you remember, and although teachers may not take attendance, they do count homework. If you don't do your homework, your grade will suffer.

      3. Sit in front
Every elementary school kid knows that they can get away with more if they sit in the back of the bus and classroom. In college, it's the same case. The further away you sit, the more likely you are to talk with neighbors, fall asleep, play games on your computer, whatever. The closer you sit to the front, the better you will perform in academics.

      4. Take notes
Note-taking is a really difficult skill to master. When I took Psych 111 at BYU-I, my teacher offered to review our notes and point out the mistakes we were making in note-taking. I went in to see him and find out. He looked over my notes and pointed out one of the notes I took and asked me what he had said that made me take that note. When I tried to explain it, I couldn't because I had forgotten and the note I had made didn't explain it in a way that I would remember. Try a couple of different note-taking methods and decide which one works the best for you, whether it's Cornell-note style, bullet points, numbers and letters, or even pictures help sometimes! Didn't know there were so many ways to take notes, did you?

      5. Read ahead
No one likes to hear this one. You have a hard enough time keeping up with the class as it is, and now you need to read ahead? When you read ahead, you are mentally preparing yourself for the material to come. You go into class with a little confidence and you'll find yourself thinking "I remember that" as he's teaching/lecturing. This will also help you prepare questions about the material that you didn't understand in the reading.

If you follow these steps, I guarantee you will do well in school. You don't have to be perfect all the time with them, but do your best. I would add one more item to the list: Get a tutor. If you're having a little bit of a tough time in a class, get a tutor. A lot of schools provide these for free (at least, BYU-I did) and having a tutor is not something to be ashamed of. College is a luxury that not everyone can afford. Treat it that way. Put in the effort because you've paid for it, and because it's worth it. Do not get stuck in that idea of entitlement, and don't take this experience for granted.
I have one last bit of advice to give you. Most students go through a period of uncertainty where they change their majors a few times until they finally decide what they want to do. That is TOTALLY normal and understandable, but just keep in mind that every major has at least one class that you will not love. Just because you didn't love the English Lit. class required to be an English-Creative Writing major, does not mean that Creative Writing isn't for you, or, in my case, just because cultural diversity is a huge waste of time because all they tell you is not to use racial slurs and to talk to the parents to try to understand their beliefs, doesn't mean that Elementary Education is not for you. Don't give up just because one class deflated you. Remember the reasons why you've chosen your major and go forward with your decision.

 Thanks for the steps to success, Dad!
Hard is good. Just another thing my parents taught me that I hated, but was (and is) true. Good luck, and have fun at school!

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1 comment :

  1. Thanks Sue! These are really good for me to know as a parent. I can totally see why I personally had failed before I even entered college - I didn't have these tools or the support behind them. Thanks (to you and to Dad) for teaching me how to support and encourage my kids in their education! I think these things can apply to high school and even jr. high as well.


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