Why Your High School Student Will Fail In College-Part Two

I. Increase the Level of Accountability

It’s not the extra homework or the big vocabulary that’s killing you–it’s the freedom. It’s the fact that your college instructor doesn’t take attendance. It’s the fact that even though your paper is due in four weeks, the instructor isn’t going to ask to see the paper until the thing is actually due. It’s the fact that your parents have nothing to do with this. There are no teachers looking over your shoulders constantly, and verbally lashing you for talking, sleeping, eating, or texting in class. YOU’RE FREE, which is why you struggle. There is no class bell, no homeroom, no “lunch” time, no free period–it’s up to you to make those things. And college is not scheduled so that you can easily reproduce your old high school schedule every semester either.

You must learn to accomplish tasks (even simple ones) (a) regardless of who is watching and (b) accomplish them as if you were being graded–because you won’t be. Let me explain…

The first one is linked to integrity, so if you have none then this is gonna be quite difficult for you. Our educational system teaches us to accomplish tasks in order to please someone–if not, then we are labeled selfish, outsiders, or rebels. No one is watching on a camera from the principals office, and no one is going to enforce a curfew upon you. You are your own boss, and if you are not careful, your lack of ability to balance time and choices will get you fired. You must become self-motivated. You must find motivational fuel that keeps you going–it may seem stupid to your friends, but they will have to walk down this same road as well. Those who bring fuel to college rarely run out of gas before making it to the next moment in life where they can have their passion re-fueled (but that’s another conversation for another time!)

The next one is linked to the fact that our culture gives us a grade on everything so we expect a grade for everything. Students ask me for extra points or credit for:

Putting their name on the test

Spelling something correctly

Showing up to class on time

Bringing their books to class

Taking notes

Not chewing gum

Raising their hand

Not falling asleep

I don’t blame them, we’ve been trained that way. We think that we deserve extra points for that material because teachers GIVE extra points for NORMAL behavior. So why not ask? This year I tried something different with pop quizes. Instead of making them count for a grade, I made them all extra credit. In other words, if you showed up for class, took the quiz, and failed it, you would still get points towards your final average. The grade point average on my pop quizes DROPPED, and more students came late to class than any other semesters. WHY?!? Because I de-valued them. The quizes didn’t hurt, so there was no accountability. I overestimated my students by thinking that they all had lives disciplined enough to balance such a task and I set them up for failure. I was heart broken. I should have known better. It wasn’t their faults, it was mine.

Place VALUE on each task and each assignment. You will care for nothing that has no value to you. Place value on the time that you spend studying, reviewing and researching. Request that others place value on your time and academic activities as well. If you begin to value what you do, then you will do what you do with aunique standard of excellence without delay. And that might keep you from failing…now it’s time for part 3…

Why Your High School Student Will Fail In College-Part One

*IF YOU ARE A PARENT, MAKE SURE THAT YOU AND YOUR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT READ THESE NEXT FEW POSTS*

I have been told so many times that high school is easier than college (only by college students of course). Do you know why high school is easier than college? Accountability and Defined Failure–that’s why. It always intrigues me to hear high school students argue this fact with me. They feel as though that because they are taking AP Calculus that it makes them a certified expert on tomorrows future (FYI: I took college calculus at a college campus during my senior year, and it STILL wasn’t what they taught me when I arrived for my freshman year in college).

The level of Accountability  in college can take an honor roll high school and make them a four time major changing, depressed, reclusive alcoholic by their third semester. As painful as this is for me to say, we must understand that if we are to know what we are trully capable of producing then we must have one of two things occur: Accountability and Defined Failure. Stay tuned for the next posts when we debunk the myths surrounding these in order to fail-proof your freshman year!

3 People Who Will Help You Fail My Class: PART 3

The last one is kind of tricky. He’s someone of which I have watched sink students time and time again. He cost me an entire year of college simply because I really thought that I could outsmart him.

His name is Dr. I. M. Fine, and he is the arch-nemesis of higher education. Your memory changes with age. Get over it. If you are 43, do not compare yourself to the 19 year old in your class who remembers EVERYTHING. Our brains undergo changes over time that begins in our 20’s and these changes effect short and long term memory.

No matter old or young you may be, you still have a brain and it LEARNS. So you will have to change the way that you learn certain material. You must quickly discover which subjects require a tactile approach and which ones require an auditory approach–in otherwords, which classes will force you to learn which ways and what sense will you require for each one.

I struggled in my first 2 chemistry lectures, but I LOVED organic Chemistry labs. Why? Because I could see what the teacher was saying. I am very visual. Literature was a class that I loved, because it allowed me to use my imagination. I HATED statistics, because one of my teachers refused to do anything but talk and show transparencies full of symbols. They had a room full of technology, but they chose to lecture about nothing that I could apply my imagination to. So when I got into Graduate School, I had no choice but to figure out how to apply statistics to the real world or I would certainly fail. The same with Physics. I barely passed the Physics lecture with a”C”, but I aced the lab with an “A”. Why? Because I could see the affects of gravity, I could see the affects acceleration, I could physically measure mass, and I could see the affects of applied force.

My methods for learning may be wacky, but they allow information to stick in my memory for almost instant access. No matter how silly!

What is your method of learning? What is your learning style? Can you adjust it to complement the material that you are currently learning? Or will you simply take a prescription from Dr. I.M. Fine and refuse to change? I must warn you, side affects from his medicines usually include:

–Blaming the teacher regardless of the fact that you have never approached them for help

–Brief bouts of insanity (the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result)

–Headaches from homework

–Nausea from test questions that you have never seen before

–And thoughts of quitting

I have had to seek treatment for all of the above. Find yourself and new doctor and embrace change. Change will be painful, and it will help you grow. Change will cost you, but it will profit you. Change may isolate you, but it will bring you favor. Change is necessary–and if I had changed when I first had the opportunity, I might have been able to break my addiction to                   Dr. I.M. Fine’s herbal remedy alot sooner than I did.

Save your nickel, start changing the way that you think.

3 People Who Will Help You Fail My Class: PART 2

The second person was and still is my deadliest enemy: its Complacency, better known as W. D. Tomorrow (We’ll Do it Tomorrow). He and I grew up together. My parents were constantly kicking him out of the house and I was constantly sneaking him back in. When I got to college, he helped introduce me to girls, parties, and popularity. He made my college experience one that I will never forget. And when I found myself on academic probation he was still there for me, through it all. He was the one who introduced me to credit cards and alcohol, but that is for another post…

W.D. Tomorrow is a friend and companion that will never leave you…unless you chase him away. As a matter of fact, he has already taken the class that you are about to take. And he is quick to tell you that it’s really not all that bad. He’s told you that there are 8 tests and that you will pass even if you fail to study for 3 of them. He’s told you that you can skip 5 days and possibly 6 as long as they are not consecutive and the instructor can’t kick you out of class. W.D. Tomorrow knows how to cut corners and make sure that you don’t pay…today.

But what he doesn’t tell you is that what you did yesterday and what you do today will equal tomorrow. So if you cut corners in both, your future will be missing keys that you will need to succeed. Or, simply the keys that would have made life a whole lot easier.

The IRS is not looking for me. I am not enslaved to the kind of debt most Americans are. But had I known then what I know now, I would not have these blasted student loans. You see, before I met W. D. Tomorrow I was going to college free of charge and all I had to do was perform close to my best. But W.D. Tomorrow showed me so many other things that I could do with all of that extra time, so many ways to cut the costs. And it caught up with me later–it led me to fail the first class of my life. Those nearly-passed classes introduced me to classes that I could NOT pass and I found myself paying for school with student-slavery loans. And now I pay a price–monthly to be exact. Don’t bring this guy to class, and if you have been, leave him where you found him…

3 People Who Will Help You Fail My Class-Part One

I am long overdue in writing this one. Some of you may hate what I will say, only to find that you are secretly one of the 3 people that I will be discussing this month. Some of you will find that if you back-peddle through the process of how you obtained your low grade that you might find a person attached. So lets talk about it…

Person #1: Party Pooper

If you are attempting to obtain an education, then you are undertaking a monumental task. It’s not easy, and you probably are having to sacrifice something in order to achieve it.

It is always easier to partake in something greater than yourself when you have people who support you–they celebrate you and your mission. But then there are those who always seem to leave you drained when you are around them. When they talk, they make you hate when you should only be frustrated. They make you dwell on the past when you had long forgiven the offense. And they get you derailed from your purpose.

They talk trash to you when you can’t go to the party/club/bar/movies like you ‘always’ do because you are pursuing something more important. And instead of understanding and having a party for you because you completed a semester, they choose to have as many parties without you during your semester while not contacting you–leaving you bitter. But bitter about what? Your classes. Your education. Your educational institution. And when you are bitter, you lose focus. You lose the desire to sacrifice. And your grade suffers–worse yet, you quit and head for the club saying to yourself “Well, a C is passing and that’s all I need to do anyway.”

A person who is opposite of a Party Pooper is one who Celebrates you and your mission: they place value on YOU and what YOU are doing. When you are with them, they give you fuel to move forward. They encourage you and look forward to your success. They constantly speak words of affirmation and help to direct your focus. And they are usually only a few…

Why So Serious?

One of my all-time biggest mistakes that I made when taking science classes was that I took the first 2 weeks of school to take my time and get comfortable with the class–but you had to know how my brain worked. When I say that I got comfortable, I mean that I got in as many “welcome back” parties and video game hours before the first test. The teacher started teaching in the 4th chapter so I skipped the first 3 as well, failing to ask WHY they skipped them.  Most teachers are assuming that you will read over previous chapters to understand the current one, or that you have had courses that have adequately prepared you for theirs.

His name is the Joker, but he was quite serious about what he did. How long does it take you to get serious about a class?

The first two weeks of class can be seen as resembling the first 5 yards that a wide receiver in football is running. Jerry Rice–one of the greatest wide receivers to ever play the position–once said that what you do within the first 5 yards that you are running will determine whether or not you will actually catch the ball. The same with most science courses. The first two weeks of concepts will determine whether or not you will catch the keys of understanding later in the semester. Take the time at the first 2 weeks to question  your instructor over those basics. Find out which concepts will be necessary for understanding things later and ask them to be specific. If your teacher is as prepared as they claim to be, then they will give you oodles of example as to why you have to know that entire list of terms. It also helps to bring more clarity and understanding as what is important now versus what is important later.

I’m A Pro At Crastination

Every semester, I create a detailed lesson plan that spans from the first day of class to the day that the final grade is delivered to Student Records. People tell me that I am very organized and a little too diligent–but what they do not know is that I have a Ph.D in procrastination so I know it quite well.

Having a detailed plan that follows dates, times and strategic goals is the one method that keeps me from treating my students like I treated classes when I was the student. When your instructor gives you a timetable of academic events, use it to your advantage. I would probably say that when I finally began doing this in college, it protected me from the inevitable’s of life. Some of my unavoidable inevitable’s were:

Break-up with a bitter/revenge oriented girlfriend

All expense paid trip to Florida for Spring Break

New part time job

Opportunity to participate in Graduate research as an Undergrad

Racist Death threat by angry alumni

Transmission issues with my car

Ice storm

Teacher spilled acid on my midterm

These are just a few that I can name. Each of them affected my life in a good way or a bad way, but because I established a strategic schedule before the semester started, I was able to manipulate my priorities and the situations in order to best be able to achieve my ultimate goal.

Here is how I would suggest doing this:

a. Obtain a timetable of due dates from your instructor, and work everything else around these dates.

b. Figure out what your academic goals are for the semester (i.e., I want to make all B’s). Now, align everything in such a way that you have enough time, resources and talent in order to do so.

c. Remove items from your calendar that do not funnel your time, resources and talent into obtaining your academic goals. This is when saying “No” becomes necessary.

d. And remember to stick to the plan…but make the plan a living document. That means that its existence forces you to actively perform, yet it allows flexibility for those unexpected moments that you simply cannot deny (like the death threat).

Try these for your next semester, and let me know how it goes!