Succeeding in College

Post by Darlene Aiken

Post by Darlene Aiken

Many college students believe that the way to succeed in college is by attending class daily, studying, and taking tests. While the aforementioned are some helpful tips and have proven to work for some. What many college students do not seem to know is that an important method of learning and really absorbing what you are learning from living an everyday experience. What exactly does this mean? 

As a college educator, I regularly, implore my students to keep in mind, if they leave college the same way in which they’ve entered, they have wasted time and money. While money is reimbursable, time is a non-refundable and a non-interchangeable gift. Time is to be used wisely. Time is the only commodity that we cannot borrow against, loan, have wait for us, add to, subtract from, nor dictate to according to our personal needs and desires. Time does not care about your race, religion, lack of religion, economic status, health status, date of birth, personal beliefs, political beliefs, etc.

Therefore, to assist in making classes more palatable, students can begin by making new friends. Does this mean that you must dismiss your old friends? In some instances, yes. In yesteryear when students went off to college, they vowed to keep in touch with high school classmates, however, usually after the first semester, those friendships died down as new friends took their place along with new interests, and growth. This did not mean that there was dissention. However, it meant that life was being lived. Sometimes reconnections took place later in life, sometimes, that was not the case. However, in the age of social media, young people are stunting their growth by continuing contacts with those that they need to grow apart from. As a result, the chances of forming new friendships are being stifled because they are attempting to keep what they knew in the past in the present. As a result, they are feeling lonely, resisting new positive developments, and embracing feelings of being ostracized as a result of lacking communication skills. This then spills over into the academics.

We all have talents, gifts, and abilities, so when we meet new people in college from across the country and world, we are exposing ourselves to opportunities to learn outside of the classroom as well as teach others about who we are. When we engage in new positive possibilities, it assists with our academic growth. 

College is different than high school in that students are encouraged to participate more than they did in high school so that they may be groomed into professional men and women who are expected to function at a higher level post college. It does not mean that they are groomed to think they are better than those without a college education, but the thought process is to expect more for them to bring to the table, especially in their area of specialty. 

Education is more than a textbook experience. In fact, Paulo Freire states that, “there are two types of knowledge, unconscious, sometimes practical knowledge and critical, reflective or theory knowledge. Beliefs are shaped into knowledge by discussion and critical reflection. ‘In the first moment, that of the experience of and in daily living, my conscious self is exposing itself to facts, to deeds, without, nevertheless, asking itself about them without looking for their ‘reason for being.’ ‘I repeat that the knowing because there also is knowing that a result from these involvements is that made from pure experience. In the second moment, in which our minds work epistemologically, the methodological rigor with which we come closer to the object, having ‘distanced ourselves’ from it, that is, having objecfied it, offers us another kind of knowing, a knowing whose exactitude gives to the investigator or the thinking subject a margin of security that does not exist in the first kind of knowing, that of common sense.’”

In other words, college students, free your minds and bodies to learn outside of the classroom, allowing yourselves to really procure more from your college experience. You will find rewards not only in your ability to compete in the job market, but you will also enhance your communication ability which permits you to open up to a better quality of life.