One of my students wrote me a long Email over the weekend. Most of it was related to extremely personal stuff, which I do not mind. I try to be there for my students in whatever way they need of me. If I find I am in over my head, I refer them to the appropriate department(s) within the college.
One statement got me chuckling a little bit. Essentially, it was a question asking how I got the three college degrees I have. My response was somewhat lengthy – but boiled down to some basic things.
- Patience – The degree does not bestow itself upon you. And all the knowledge of all your instructors is not going to be zapped into your head over the course of a single night. Handle one class at a time. Enjoy the topics that are being presented to you – even when the topic is not the most palatable option. I know I had a hard time following that level of enjoyment during my statistics classes.
- Goal-Oriented Drive – Before you even start your first class. Chart a plan of action. Know what degree plan you are going to work towards. Have backup options available, just in case the class you are wanting to take is only offered one semester or is unexpectedly full when you manage to get registered. Choose what degree you are going to obtain, see yourself holding the diploma in your hand in the future — and then strive towards that vision.
- Seeing the Larger Picture– Sometimes, students get hyper-focused on a single topic in a single class. “I am going to be a Database developer. My degree is aiming towards a Bachelors in Computer Sciences with an emphasis on Database Management. What the fuck do I need a class on American History for?” The idea of the “well-rounded” student is a good one. Hyper-focusing on a single subject tends to create students that are ready for a single field of endeavor, but not flexible enough to change when business changes. The class might not seem important now, but there is a chance that it may in the future.
- More Patience – I see students that want to rush through their programs at break-neck speeds. In today’s modern society, its understandable. We live in a world where the focus is go-go-go. Sometimes, moving through classes at light speeds provides no chance for the student to handle the other important part of collegiate studies: networking with one’s peers.
I freely admit…I had troubles with each one of these in my collegiate career. And that career continues now – not just as an instructor, but also as I move forward for my final degree – a Masters of Arts in History. Believe it or not, a lot of these informal lessons are also in play in our daily lives. Our careers. Our Spirituality. Just because we are not in a collegiate career, does not mean that these pitfalls are not presented to us. We experience the rush of people constantly trying to get ahead as fast as they can in life. Rush hour traffic. Impatience at the speed of service in the places we eat and shop. Our desire to obtain our purchases as fast as possible. Our avoidance of the outside world by staring through the windscreen as we travel. The inability of being able to attend those aforementioned collegiate classes, which breeds anger, contempt and arrogance towards those that are afforded that opportunity.
I recall the saying – “Stop and smell the roses along the way”…and I honestly have a better appreciation of that statement now – at 48 – then I did back in my twenties. I also have a much slower life than I used to. When I run into people who attempt to rush me along – I tend to remind that there’s no need to hurry through anything – unless someone is going to die. That’s brought calm to some people…and angered others. Its never rattled my own sense of calm though. Hurrying through life at the insistence of others is living life on their terms…not my own…
To be fair, everything I have mentioned above are things that I struggle with in my own Daily Path. Some of what I am mentioning is also a part of observance on my part. There will be people who read the list and dismiss what I am saying for one reason or another. That is perfectly fine. A lot of what I write about is me working things out in my head via my fingers and a keyboard. If someone gets something out of what I am saying – that is great.
Live your life at your pace. If you prefer to speed your way through it…by all means go right ahead. Ignore what I have stated above, and do things your way. What I am presenting above are suggestions – not laws. If those were laws, I’d be politician. And if that were the case, I would have killed myself already. LOL You live your life your way…if you take any of my suggestions, remember that my suggestion became a part of your life when you adopted it. Its no longer my suggestion, but an axiom you are using for yourself. Adapt it as necessary to fit to what you are doing. Me? I am going to go to class this morning – and when I get back home, I am headed out for a nice walk before it gets too hot. Its the simple stuff that tends to work for me…