Friday, October 5, 2012

Questions answered from New York State Completion Day

I recently spoke for New York State's Completion Day and afterwards students were able to text in questions since many were watching the simulcast across the state. I wasn't able to get to all of them so I told them I'd still answer their questions on my blog. Thanks so much for asking questions you guys - it says a lot about you! Successful students ask questions :)

What was your most trying time in community college? Michael from Broome CC 

The hardest time I had in community college was at the beginning. I felt so alone when I started, just going to class and going home, not sure what this whole "college" thing was all about. What changed that for me was the friends I met in the classroom. That is why the first section of my book was about connecting with your peers. Professors helped me academically and professional mentors helped me get jobs, but my friends were the ones who got me through the hard times. 

What can I do to prepare myself for my Bachelors? - Arriana from Erie CC

Join the honors program if your college has one, join Phi Theta Kappa, and find a professor whom you really connect with to be your mentor. Honors programs are great at preparing you to transfer and Phi Theta Kappa is a way to qualify for many transfer scholarships. And professors know academia better than anyone else and can help guide you towards the best colleges to apply to and how to go about that process. Seek help every day, because it can be a lot. But you can do it!!

What advice would you give a student without hope? - Anonymous

This is such a great question. I think hope is the most important factor for college success. But it's hard to measure, and it's hard to "teach." I lost all hope when I first started community college. I felt so alone. But it was the people I met in community college who gave me hope - the friends in the classroom, going to my professors' office hours, meeting with my academic advisor often, and joining clubs. Take action even when you feel hopeless by asking others for help. Eventually, you'll find hope will come back to you again when those people start to see in you what you can't see in yourself - potential.

What is a good way to get motivated to go to morning classes? Daniel from SUNY Orange

First of all, think about when you are most energized. If it's not the morning, try to pick classes at times where you are most alert. However, if you have to take morning classes, then choose classes that you're most excited about to start the day with. I also recommend getting up earlier to give yourself some time to actually wake up and eat breakfast so that you're ready for the day by the time you get to class. I also recommend dressing nice, and listening to your favorite music on the way. Also, try reading your goals and  reading a few pages of a good motivational/college success book each morning. Starting your day with your goals fresh in your head will help motivate you to remember how  your classes will help you get to where you want to go in your life. 

When you're feeling overwhelmed, how do you overcome the most difficult obstacles surrounding you with all the work you do? Danny from SUNY Orange Newburgh Campus

The hardest year of my life was when I was working full time, writing my book, and getting my Masters. I'd wake up at 5am to write my book, go to work by 8:30am, and then I'd get home at 5:30pm and I'd work on my Masters. It was exhausting and there were so many times where I just felt like I couldn't do this. I'd cry alone and wonder to myself, why am I trying so hard? Is this really worth it? Is any of this going to actually work out? Is this really going to help me reach my dreams? 

And there were many times I thought no, maybe this isn't worth it, maybe I'm trying too hard, maybe no one will read my book, maybe this won't make a difference, maybe I'm not capable of this. 

But what kept me going was hope. I'd crash and burn but then I'd journal about it and read my goals again (which I write down every year) and remember students like you. I'd remember the people who believe in me. And I'd remember that dreams require hard work, and that even though I wasn't seeing results now and probably wouldn't see them for years, that this is what it would take. And in the past few months, I have finally been seeing the results. It was a long journey, but every tear and every early morning was worth it.

You'll feel that same way once you receive your diploma. I promise. 

At the book signing after the New York State Completion Day event

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