January 26, let me count the ways that you are bringing us down:
- Cloudy outside.
- Three people out sick.
- Two more going home early.
- Printer problems.
It would be easy to be grumpy today. But then I saw this on the Internet:
So I am going to give it a try. It might be that i can only make partly-cloudy. But I’m determined not to be all doom and gloom around other people. Sure, there might be lots of reasons for people to feel down today.I’m going to make sure I’m not one of those reasons.
The Museum of Extraordinary Things
by Alice Hoffman
It is a work of historical fiction set in 1911, which tells the story of a girl who works in her father’s museum of unusual people like herself. She has webbed fingers and is billed as a mermaid. She meets a young photographer, and, as their story unfolds, they are witnesses to two major New York fire disasters. He photographs the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and watches young women and children plummeting to their deaths to escape the fire. She watches the Dreamland Amusement Park on Coney Island as fire consumes the rides and amusements. It is heartbreaking in what they both helplessly witness and hopeful in what they find in each other.
Robin teaches psychology at the Humphreys County Campus.
Almost everyone starts off the semester with good intentions (kind of like gym memberships in January). But somehow a month or so in, things start to get more and more difficult. So what can you do now to ensure that you’ll not only survive but thrive during the entire term?
Here are some tips:
- Be prepared to work hard. College is not high school. There is more work. There is the expectation that you can learn independently. And you are responsible for that learning.
- Get to know your professors. Ask questions. Go to their offices during office hours. They are the most valuable resource you have!
- Find a study spot. Take advantage of breaks between classes. Go to the library or the learning center. Find a quiet hallway.
- Find out what help is available. How do colleges try to help students? Let me count the ways: Tutors, workshops, office hours, information sessions, etc. I think I can safely say if you need help and don’t get it, then it’s because you didn’t ask.
- Pull your weight. Don’t be the guy in the back playing with your phone. Don’t the woman in the group who doesn’t come through with your part of the assignment.
- Keep up. The most successful students are those who do the assignments daily, keep up with homework, and don’t have to cram to take a test. There’s no substitute for daily practice.
- Manage your time. Get a calendar. Write down all your assignments. If you have three big projects due in the same week, start early.
- Be responsible for your learning.
On Saturday, I had dinner with some friends who have two dogs. They went up to all the guests wanting to be petted. The golden retriever was especially affectionate. If I stopped petting her, she’d put her head back under my hand or just tap me with her paw as a reminder that I had stopped and needed to start up again. Once she’d had enough, she dropped at my feet and took a short nap.
What a wise dog. She didn’t sit in the corner waiting to be noticed. She didn’t pout because no one came up to her immediately. She didn’t walk away when the petting stopped wondering why the person didn’t ‘know’ that she still wanted affection. She knew what she wanted, and she asked for it.
Think of how much time we waste expecting other people to read our minds and then being upset when they don’t. “I shouldn’t have to ask,” is a refrain I hear often. But, actually, we do.
So for 2015, I’m making the resolution to ask for what I need. I think you should too.
Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic, be enthusiastic and faithful, and you will accomplish your object. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.–Ralph Waldo Emerson
A colleague and friend of mine emailed this morning asking a question about a student she was advising over email. Now this doesn’t sound terribly amazing except not only is she on semester break, she is also on medical leave. Still, when the student emailed her, she did more than respond; she went the extra mile to get the answers she needed from others here on campus.
If you knew this person, you wouldn’t be surprised. She attacks everything with enthusiasm. Students love her class because she is passionate about her subject and cares about them. More than once, former students have run up to her in the library to give her a hug or update her on their lives.
So as we begin this new year, let’s take my friend as an example of how to proceed through the days. Let’s not just show up; let’s be enthusiastic about our tasks. Let’s not just help people but show them that we are eager to do so.
A great enthusiasm makes all our days better.
Emily: Get my NSCC Voices project off the ground (recording and archiving the stories of first generation college students).
Andrew: To go on a nice trip with Sarah in September to celebrate our anniversary… She’s from Wyoming, and she’s never been to Florida to see the beach or Disney World.
Sally: To help the library become more sustainable, and finish indexing The Tennessee Conservationist. It contains some great articles, but it is very hard to find them with no index.
Colette: I’d like to read more poetry, finish at least one of the two writing projects on my back burner, and metaphorically pee my pants with laughter at least once a week, at work.
Faye: Help students, faculty, and staff with any project that they may have.
Jolly Librarian: Complete some past years’ resolutions or strike them off the list forever.