I’m doing student conferences this week, which is very much like battling Klingons one at a time for hours on end. Students sit and talk to me and I talk to them and I tell them how they are doing in class and we discuss different things, yes, yes, yes. It is a very helpful teaching technique that will slowly kill even the strongest educator. One thing I keep repeating, and one thing that deserves repeating, is that going to college is all about doing three things. That’s it. There are three things you can do in college that will make your college experience amazing and rewarding and will almost certainly guarantee and A.
Ask a question during every class session.
Turn in all your work on time.
Never miss a class.
These sound easy, but they are not. They are difficult acts to accomplish successfully.
Asking a question during every class session involves thinking, critically, about what the Professor is talking about. It involves engagement, active engagement. You can’t just sit there. This means you have to be prepared and ready to go in every class. This might seem obvious, but it’s easy to get bored in a class, especially a class you don’t care about. Forcing yourself to formulate a question during every class session creates a fiction, of sorts. You are acting like you are interested. But if you act like you care, you have to do the same things you would do if you really did care, causing the same result: learning.
Turning in all your work also seems like a no brainer. This is probably the most difficult. The reason for this, the reason for the difficult, is simple. Students don’t feel like doing everything. Missing one or two assignments allows for the student to take a break, enjoy watching Television. Sometimes the assignments are hard and sometimes the student just doesn’t feel like doing the work. I’ve been there. I’m down with what’s going on in the street. But, in order to be a success in college, you have to turn everything in and you have to turn it in on time. The professor has your grade in their hands. The last thing you want to do is piss them off. Turning work in late is akin to promising to meet your wife for dinner and then just not showing up, but then walking up to them a day later and saying, “I know I missed dinner with you, but I have this bag of food now. Cool?” Shit don’t work that way, player. Turn your damn work in on time.
Never missing a class is even more difficult, and practically unrealistic. Sort of. I can count on my fingers how many times I’ve called in sick to work. Once. It was a gout flare up and I couldn’t walk. Things happen, though. I get that. I’m hip. I also know that, sometimes, that bed is a little too warm. You think about it for a minute and you say, “I need a me day” and you just roll over and go back to bed. Going to class is the best thing you can do for your grade. You never miss a thing. Professors are spastic individuals. We talk fast, think fast and make decisions fast. We’re erratic and, in some cases, impulsive. I’ve given entire assignments based off a quick thought and a few suggestions. We are supposed to have deep lesson plans and hard-lined schedules, but it always doesn’t work out that way. As a student, you need to be there. Otherwise, you’ll miss something.
There is more to that, of course, but those are the basics. Those are the most important, those are fundamentals. Master those and you’ll be fine in college.