College Success – A Personal Story
First of All… why did we create the College Success Lab app?
Well, would you say that earning a college degree is a major life accomplishment?
Having a B.A. degree can improve the overall quality of your life.
However, pursuing one can be a very challenging journey…particularly if you’re the first person in your family to do so.
In addition, being totally unaware of the “wealth” of academic resources available to students served as a critical barrier to my academic adjustment to collegiate life.
And, as a result, I learned many, many life lessons while attending an urban, public university.
But none more important than learning that just working harder does not necessarily accomplish your goals without you also working smarter!
Graduating from college was an extremely challenging personal journey. I stumbled many times in that new world, but sheer determination was my crutch.
And I kept moving forward.
Moreover, perseverance served as my machete soul mate, as I chopped and thrashed my way through the relentless, academic jungle.
For me, studying in college was more demanding than it ever was in high school. Only library information resources I knew about were dictionaries and encyclopedias.
Low self-esteem was a constantly haunting visitor…
Like most first-generation students, I received very little guidance or support with selecting the best routes to take to complete my degree in 4 years.
But luck and dogged determination were on my side. The 4-year plan was my only option because I really did not know that I could go to college beyond the 4-year “limit”.
And my only source of financial aid was a 4-year college loan that my mother obtained through her job. ( I also had a twin sister in the same boat.)
As a matter of fact, working while going to school was not an option for us. We had to contribute financially to our family household. My mother was a working single parent with 5 children to support.
I was a full-time student, working a 30 hrs a week job, carrying a full academic course load. I even went to summer school to stay on my 4-year graduation schedule.
Nevertheless, I did receive my degree within 4 years and so did my sister.
Eventually, that life-changing experience led me to pursue a multi-faceted career in higher education administration.
Advising students on the best ways to successfully navigate the “ins and outs” of the world of higher education became the pinnacle of my career. It is what I enjoyed most about selecting that diverse career path.
As an academic adviser, I became acutely aware of how many students were really unprepared for the rigors of collegiate academic study.
Like myself, many were totally unaware of the existence of the very helpful library information resources available to them.
Watching their heart-wrenching struggles was certainly déjà vu for me…resurrecting my own experiences struggling to learn college level academic material.
Be careful…History can repeat itself!
Ironically, some twenty years later, my son had a similar college experience, with one exception.
He had me to consult with about the challenges he encountered along his journey.
Moreover, we developed a graduation plan which included going to summer school and taking intercession and online courses.
With that plan, he earned his bachelor’s degree in 4 years.
However, times have changed. Most students today take anywhere from 5 to 6 years to complete their undergraduate degree.
Although our journeys were somewhat different, we both came to the same conclusion about the overall value of the collegiate experience.
Every student should adopt some aspect of the following 5 principles in order to achieve their personal and professional goals:
#1-Connect regularly to your campus’ best information resources like the library and academic advising.
#2-Seek more personalized college and career success support, both on and off campus, like tutors and mentors.
#3-Optimize continual personal and professional growth opportunities.
#4-Build and expand your academic and professional network, make lasting connections.
#5-Pursue diverse options, opportunities, and alternative success pathways.
Successfully surviving any college experience requires perseverance, continual support, and networking.
Yet, according to national statistics, most students take “minimal” advantage of on and off campus student support services including the academic library.
Our personal experiences and the current state of affairs surrounding student achievement inspired us to create the College Success Lab App.
Moreover, it’s our hope is that this app will help many learners benefit from working “smarter” while working harder to achieve their goals.
What we do best at Mélange College and Career Readiness Services is provide learners with choices, options, and opportunities to achieve their individual college and career objectives.