Thursday, September 11, 2014

The craziest thing you can do in college

If you're looking for a wild idea for your college experience, one that's right on the edge - risky - that could even cause you to possibly not graduate, then you've come to the right place.

No, I'm not talking about any nutty party antics (did I just say "nutty?" can tell I've never been a party person).

What I am talking about is the craziest thing college students do - something that makes NO sense, and yet something the majority of students do when they start out - myself included.

It's a crazy thing that you should STOP as soon as possible if you want to be successful in college. But for the most part it's impossible to stop until someone tells you why you should.

What am I talking about?

Doing college alone. 

I spoke to students about college completion yesterday and the Student Life Director who hired me told me about a term her colleague had come up with - "PCP students." It stood for their typical college routine:

Parking Lot - Class - Parking Lot.

In my book I call that drive-thru education.

And it's crazy. It's nutty. It doesn't make sense. And it's the most insane thing you can do.


College completion is a team sport.

And trying to do it alone is like one football player - no matter how good he might be - trying to play against an entire team. It makes no sense. He doesn't have a chance. He'll lose, and the dangerous part is that he may think it's his fault - that he's not good enough, that maybe he's not cut out for this.

But the truth is that he's trying to play a team sport alone. He could be great with a team. 

The same is true for you.

I think one of the major reasons students drop out of college is they don't understand how to get connected beyond the PCP routine. 

This is especially relevant to commuter students, of which most community college students are. 

When I started community college I was crazy too. I just went to class and went home. I didn't know there was anything more to do. I figured that was basically all that was important.

Class, of course, IS the most important thing in college. BUT - your ability to stay engaged and do your best in class is also affected by the team you've build around you to help you succeed.

I'm talking about having friends to study with, having professors whose offices you can frequent to ask for help and advice, and knowing the right staff throughout the college who can help you manage your entire college experience (e.g. see 15 places you must visit on your college campus).  

Don't be crazy and try to do college alone. Even Harvard students have a team of over six types of mentors to help them navigate the experience. Everyone needs help!!

Here are three steps to start building your team and not be a crazy person ;) ==>

1) Go visit the Student Life office on your campus and ask about clubs and other events and opportunities they offer. Then make it a priority in your schedule to GO. Join your favorite club. Become an officer.

2) Visit your professors during their office hours to ask about advice on an upcoming assignment, check in with a current assignment you're working on to make sure you're on the right track, or ask their advice about a question you're having about college in general. 

3) Build free-time in your schedule next semester in between classes. Do not schedule your classes back-to-back. Space them out to force yourself to stay on campus where you'll have the time to meet people, ask for help, and explore all the hidden opportunities at your college (as well as having important time to do your HW in the library!). As much as possible, try to work only on nights and weekends so you can dedicate your weekdays to having a successful college experience. 

Okay, so stop being a nutty crazy pants and go build your college success team! You're now officially out of excuses, because now you know. ;)

Oh and BONUS tip - my book is literally all about how to build your college success team. It includes how to make friends, exactly what you can ask professors, and sample e-mail scripts to reach out to professional mentors. Check it out here!

1 comment:

  1. Hrm interesting. I've found when I at least make friends in my classes I do enjoy going to them more and have carried those friends over to following semesters if we both need the same classes. However we tend to live in opposite directions of campus so we don't see each other in person much outside of school. We keep in touch via facebook, school email and text. However, I am guilty of PCP. On Tuesdays I have 2 hours between Chemistry lecture and Public Speaking. I feel like I need the reset button, so I started taking that time to go grab lunch away from school. It's only my third week coming up and I keep inviting others to join so maybe it will turn into a study/discussion lunch!


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