Dave Dillon and Thomas Priester

“Success is a journey, not a destination.”

– Ralph Arbitelle

Thank you for reading this OER textbook. I hope you had a positive experience. Your thoughts, ideas, suggestions, and criticisms are valuable for future revisions and improvements.  I encourage you to let me know if you are finding success, accomplishing your goals, or if you are struggling. I enjoy learning from students who share their experiences and hearing they are graduating. It is a source of inspiration to me. If you have the passion discussed in the first chapter, you can find a way to do it. And when all the hard work, time, energy and effort pays off, it should be a proud accomplishment. Previous students have contributed to this textbook by sharing design and content ideas. If you have comments, suggestions, questions, criticisms, or reflections about this textbook, I would appreciate hearing from you: blueprintforsuccessincollege@gmail.com.

Bring Your Whole Self

Your unique perspective and experiences are valuable. Do not be afraid to share your perspective. It is important for trust and growth. If you do not understand something, do not pretend that you do. Show up authentically and honestly with humility. You will be more satisfied, engaged, and successful.

Balance

There is a struggle with college and family life. Finding balance is not easy to accomplish. You will find a balance that works for them. There is no right or wrong way. If students are not balanced, it makes academic success challenging. It may take time to achieve better balance, but it’s worth the investment. Get involved in academic clubs or student government, but only as much as you can handle.

Family and friends may not understand college life and responsibilities. Explaining to family what and why you are doing it will let them into your college life.

Persistence

Thomas Edison is well known for inventing the electric light bulb. But many people are not aware of how many times he failed in trying to do so. Edison made a note of what he had done and what components he used each time he made an attempt. He would make an adjustment and try again. When the adjustment didn’t work, he would make a note of that, readjust and try again. Edison learned from every experiment. He learned all the ways that it would not work. After approximately 10,000 failed experiments, Edison then successfully invented the electric light bulb. However, inventions rarely spring from the single mind of an inventor. It is a myth that Edison was the hero of invention, but rather the collective approach between Edison and Nikola Tesla that led to inventive work. Of course, the financial support of investors played a significant role.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

– Thomas Edison

British inventor Sir James Dyson, well known for creating the bagless vacuum cleaner took 15 years and 5,127 prototypes to “get it right.” British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking discovered black holes, among many things. While he was disabled with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), he focused on what he could do well and not on what he couldn’t do. The Theory of Everything (2014) film is an account of his life’s work amidst disabling structures.

“However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.”

– Stephen Hawking

Be persistent. You will encounter situations where you will want to give up. You can overcome the obstacles and challenges, if you are persistent. The motivation for success may come from external pressure and responsibility.

Mentorship

Personal connections are critical to persistence. Find a mentor, a professor or academic adviser, to navigate college such as selecting courses and deciding on a major, and plan for your career. They will serve as role models, share expectations, and encourage you to pursue your goals. You can encounter mentors through formal mentorship programs, peer mentorship programs, career mentorship programs, in class or through club organizations, volunteering, or alumni.

Teamwork

My friend Sherine Ebadi played on a UC San Diego volleyball team that won a National Championship (1997). She gave a speech at the award banquet that remains one of the most inspirational speeches I have heard and one that still gives me chills when I reread. She described teamwork as “a complete denial of self-interest, individual statistics and personal glory, all in exchange for making your teammate look good, even when they don’t, and be successful even when they’re not. It’s making sure she knows that she’s never fighting alone, that she’s not merely an individual member of a team but rather an essential component to a unified whole working toward a common goal.”

You will not be able to accomplish some of your biggest goals by yourself. You will need a support system and the selection of your support team is important. Surround yourself with people who encourage and motivate you. Being a good teammate means supporting your friends’ and family members’ goals as well. It means making demands on someone else and not relying solely on yourself. There is no shame in leaning on one another and insisting on the necessity of community.

More Advice

Make good decisions. Choose a major that you will be proud of. You may feel pressure to choose a career that your family wants. More important than making good decisions though is learning from decisions that are made and the positive and negative results and consequences of those decisions.

Embrace a growth mindset. Do you view challenges as impossible obstacles or as opportunities to grow? This may not help you with studying, but it will give you life satisfaction. There will be times where your attitude and outlook will reflect on you and may create opportunities for yourself.

Give yourself grace and compassion. Understand that you are not perfect and your self-worth is not based on mistakes of your past. The road to success will be bumpy with long, late nights studying or doing homework. Do not compare yourself to other students in college.

You belong here. It is normal to question your belonging in college. Remember that belonging is a process, improving even if never complete. Your diverse identities are sources of motivation and success. Focus on your progress and use the feedback to meet high standards.

Closing

It is my sincere hope that you will have found information in this textbook helpful. I wish you academic success and an enjoyable journey to reach your goals.

– Dave Dillon, 2018

Licenses and Attributions:

Content previously copyrighted, published in Blueprint for Success in College: Indispensable Study Skills and Time Management Strategies (by Dave Dillon), now licensed as CC BY Attribution.

Adaptions: Added content (Dave Dillon).

Foundations of Success: Words of Wisdom Conclusion

In the textbook, you will have related to the ideas and concepts to your own academic, personal, and life-career successes. While reading the textbook, you explored the following guiding questions:

  • How do you demonstrate college readiness through the use of effective study skills and campus resources?
  • How do you apply basic technological and information management skills for academic and lifelong career development?
  • How do you demonstrate the use of critical and creative thinking skills to solve problems and draw conclusions?
  • How do you demonstrate basic awareness of self in connection with academic and personal goals?
  • How do you identify and demonstrate knowledge of the implications of choices related to wellness?
  • How do you demonstrate basic knowledge of cultural diversity?

It’s time to pay it forward by composing your own Words of Wisdom story to share with college students of the future. Reflect on the lessons learned during your own college experience this term and use the guiding questions to develop a true-to-life story that can help other college students connect the dots between being a college student and being a successful college student. Submit your story to be considered in the next edition of Foundations of Academic Success: Words of Wisdom by emailing your name, institution, and a draft of your short story to opensunyfas@gmail.com. Submissions will be reviewed as they are received and you will be contacted directly if your submission is reviewed and selected for publication.

The options for textbooks focusing on college student success in college are overwhelming; many textbooks exist at varying levels of rigor and cost (some well over $100). The FAS: WoW series of textbooks provides college students open access textbooks that are student-centered and readable (dare I even say enjoyable). FAS: WoW supports the open access textbook philosophy to help students reduce the cost of attending colleges and universities.

– Thomas Priester

Licenses and Attributions:

CC licensed content, Shared previously:

Foundations of Academic Success: Words of Wisdom. Edited by Thomas Priester. Located at: https://milnepublishing.geneseo.edu/foundations-of-academic-success/back-matter/conclusion/  License: CC BY Attribution.

License

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Blueprint for Success in College and Career by Dave Dillon and Thomas Priester is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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