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Motivating the Next Generation of Scholars for the Work Ahead

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Recently a colleague and I had a conversation about today’s college students. We agreed that there are many more opportunities available to them. It is always rewarding to see how students have taken these opportunities and parlayed them into successful careers. Even in these less than favorable economic times, companies are still finding their way onto college campuses to recruit students.

Certainly, college in and of itself, will not make you successful. There must be some drive and determination that students must have. Determination and aspiration usually go a long way in helping students reach their goals.

Students should take advantage of the opportunities that colleges and universities give them.

For example, when college recruiters are on campus, students must see this activity as an opportunity. Going to see a company representative in a pair of blue jeans and sneakers is unacceptable. The appropriate attire for men is suits and ties and for women, dresses and pantsuits. Talking with the office of career services or one of your professors will help to prepare you for the interview. Yet there are always students who don’t heed the advice and act to the contrary.

Why is it that there is a group of students who believe doing their assignments at the last minute will produce their best work?  Some students unfortunately are always late for class. For example, they will walk in at 8:20 a.m. for an 8:00 a.m. class and think nothing of it. Lastly, some students will walk out of class before the class ends with no prior warning to the professor. Those students that are in college for the right reasons will be successful. Will it take hard work and perseverance? Yes it will because nothing in life worth having is easy.

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It is important that we who have been through the academy help college students to understand that success is not at the “drive-thru” window.  It cannot just be ordered up and put in a bag. If it were that easy there would be a lot more successful people out here.

It requires a commitment to hard work, and delayed gratification coupled with unbending and unwavering goals. While we have heard this time-honored expression before, the race is not won by the swift but the race is won by those who endure to the end. The finish line is there for today’s college students and I believe they will get there.

Listed below are some strategies that may help.

  1. Find a mentor to help you in your college experience.
  2. Become involved in college life. Join a club or an organization.
  3. Set monthly and\or semester goals.
  4. Seek out an older and wiser college graduate for wisdom and advice.
  5. Become a member of a study group. It will help you with your academic studies.
  6. Get an internship for the summer as these practical experiences will help you immensely.
  7. Find out more about your professors and how they became successful.
  8. As a college student, you should realize that your competition is sitting right next to you. Give your best effort each day.

Dr. James Ewers is the president emeritus of The Teen Mentoring Committee in Ohio. He served as a vice president and admissions director at several colleges and universities before retiring in 2012. A motivational speaker and workshop leader, he is the author of Perspectives From Where I Sit: Essays on Education, Parenting and Teen Issues.

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