by Heather Medley
We've survived our last day of class for the semester and we celebrate for a second. Just before we remember, finals.
For years now, I've worked with the smart kids, gifted students, fast learners. For many, school just came naturally and showed on report cards every semester with little to no effort. You know the kid that could walk into a test they didn't know and walk out with a solid A.
Starting college, however, can be a whole different ballgame. All of a sudden, classes are difficult, tests are worth a whole lot more, and students finally have complete control of their own schedules.
The wise designate time to study.
Over my years working with the smart kids, I have learned how to help them succeed in college curriculum, but I also learned several other valuable lessons that will continue to help scholars as we face these challenges. Here's a list of things I've watched scholars learn the hard way that I hope will be beneficial to other smart kids in this finals season and beyond.
It's okay to ask for help.
This is a really hard one for many to come to terms with. The student who didn't want to look stupid so they avoided letting anyone, especially the professor, know that they were struggling with the material, waited and struggled in silence. BIG mistake. Once students get honest and make tutoring appointments or have an older student help or actually go to office hours, what they didn't understand disappears. Most report back that, "It was so beneficial and not at all awkward." By swallowing some pride and admitting that they didn't know, they were able to get the help and attention needed to succeed.
We all need help and I don't know a Terry out there who wouldn't be willing to offer some.
You actually have to put in the work.
While this may seem like a no-brainer, it is actually surprising to some that you can't spend all night watching Netflix and scrolling Facebook and still succeed on a test you know nothing about. You have to put in the work if you want the results.
There are people around whose job it is to help you succeed.
Professors, college counselors, TA's, tutors, a certain scholarship advisor, and even older students all want you to have the best possible college experience ever and they are more than happy to help you as long as you ask.
A "B" or a "C" or even a failure is not the end of the world.
I've watched students cry over a grade that never comes. I've watched students work themselves into a frenzy over all of the "what ifs" that don't ever happen. I've had to reevaluate what it means to succeed and what I expect from students who do not. Do I want scholars to do well every day, in every course? Absolutely. But I'm learning not to be so hard on myself when students don't do as I'd hoped or as well as they planned.
Come to me. Let's talk. There are things we can do to help you be successful.
You are not defined by only one thing.
I've always loved being the smart kid, being around the smart kids, but I've deciding that there are more aspects of life that define who people are that are far more valuable than academic performance. Scholars are dependable leaders, loyal friends, a driven academics, loving caregivers, and so much more.
While school needs to be the priority over the next few years, I want students to learn there needs to be a balance between academics and everything else that makes up the college experience. Should we study better now than when college began? Absolutely! But I know that you've also learned so many valuable lessons that will impact your lives long after taking finals.
And we walk out of finals like...