Getting Through College – Keeping It Real

Getting Through College
This is written for young people entering college, adults entering college, and the parents of young people entering college. If your son is strung out on drugs starting with pot and graduating to the high potent pain killer- sophisticated heroin- save your self thousands of dollars- he will not make it. If your daughter is on her 3rd out of wedlock child- and has been taking prescription pills for various conditions- and really thinks she is smarter than Einstein-and is not unfamiliar with a mental institution- save your money- take the grandkids to Disney World- she is the best that you are going to get. Better still- forgets the kids- you go back to school get your degrees and set the bar high for the grandkids. If none of these descriptions fit you- read on- you may get some interesting information. First find the money- billions are out there for American education- finds the money- if you are sincere- the money will find you. Take money making career courses- you can still save the whales- living in a nice house and driving a nice care while taking care of your family. Give up the religion of poverty and all of its devoted friends. There are degrees you can take where the government will forgive student loans if you work in help environments in challenging communities – check them out- education and health care are just examples.
America does not like smart or good- still be smart and be good- the status quo will develop invisible ways to keep you dumb and bad. Americans are the smartest nicest people you want to meet, but did not get that way with the help of neighbors friends families or community. America runs on its common denominator, success – however is achieved when the fractions are mixed and unpredictable event occur. People come here from all over the world to experience the unpredictability of the American experience. In America- the past does not predict the future and the impossible and unpredictable are the code words of success.
The greatest achiever in the American society are those who were victims of oppression and did not give up- and the runt of the litter that went on to win the race. The greatest moments are when your friends- family and significant other predict your demise- plan your funeral- order all the flowers- and say a few words of kindness over your grave. They go off into the inner room of gossip and discuss the reasons for your death- and then proceed with business as usually. They were there for your death- but not for your resurrection- you did not want or invite them. In the mean time you worked 3 jobs, went to school at night – studied between shifts and graduated.
Completing three professional degrees, you ordain the one true friend who stood by you through your death and resurrection- to go tell the old group about the gathering at your new home for a “house warming” event. Getting in through and out of college is like inviting folks to the house warming. There will be a lot of talk from the people who thought you were dead, and the doubting that it is really you living in this house with all your degrees on the wall.
If you cannot handle death and the excitement of the resurrection, do not even try college. Serious college- not community college- is not for the frail the weak or the privileged. You have to want it to get it, and you really need staying power to complete your task. If you do not have the staying power and sheer determination- join your friends in the inner gossip room for the regular bashing sessions for who ever is scheduled to be on the list.
You can make it through drugs and alcohol, but you will miss the greatest high of your life. The advantage of doing college cold sober is that you can relive the experience over and over again without any additional substances. College is the high that keeps on giving. When you earn the degree without any short cuts you eliminate the need for void fill-ins. Your work experiences and achievements define you so stay clean and find your definition
College is like playing chess- you need a good opening game- a carefully played middle game and a strong and carefully planned end game. Weakness in any of the three areas will results in checkmate for the status quo. Chess is a game of concentration- you cannot be actively involved in side games and still be able to predict your opponents next move.

The smarter you are and the smarter you think you are, the more difficult it will be for you to get in through and out of college. If you feel you know more than your friends, co-workers, parents or teachers you will have difficulty adjusting to the submission behavior necessary to make major transformations in your life. If your child has never struggled for anything, and you, as a parent, successfully completed your struggle, were lucky enough to achieve some success in life gave your children the advantages you were not fortunate enough to have, then expect problems.
If you are a successful professional, your children will resented you and sabotage any effort on your part to help them to get into college. If you are a religious person well respected and powerful in your area of work, your children will engage in behaviors causing embarrassment and attention. Pay attention to these obstacles and prepare a plan for dealing with resentment that will make it self-known in various forms of behavior. These factors will also make it difficult for students to succeed in college.
Resentment students may have towards parents because of the perception of success – may cause them to engage in hostile relationship with professors. Before preparing to enter into college, or encouraging a senior to take the steps necessary to enter and succeed in college, get the “crazy” out of the way first. Professors do not care about your “crazies,” they are dealing with their own crazies. High school teachers will listen to and pay attention to your crazies because public school is compulsory, college is a by choice experience, and your professors does not have the time to have therapy and academic sessions. Make sure you are going to school for the right reasons, your reasons determine your levels of success. Your professors will not be impressed with who you are or what privileges you bring into the classroom. The professor is the star of the classroom and you are there to learn from the star.
The more disadvantages a student has when entering into the college process, the better chance there is for success. Disadvantage students come to learn, not to star and will follow all directives and assignments in order to achieve goals. They do not argue with the author of textbooks; resent the requirements stated in the syllabus, they deliver what is requested. The prime directive is to get in through and out of the institution with the credentials required for success in any field. If you cannot get through the process you cannot get the degree and you are there to get the degree.
The 21st century has produced a disconnect generation. This is a generation not interested in family values or family histories. They are not interested in covered wagon stories, pioneer stories, slavery stories, or civil rights battles. They do not care about you high school days, your trophies or accomplishment. They are barely interested in your job or the work you do to put food on the table. They know nothing about a mortgage or how it was obtained or the decisions you made in the car you drive. They are not interested in family gatherings and could care less about grandma or grandpa or uncle Charlie or aunt Martha.
They tend to do well in school because they have blocked out human interaction and are able to use those un challenged areas in academic pursuit. They do not shovel snow or mow lawns and do not know what a garbage can is or what it is for. They do not need part time jobs working for minimum wage salaries because their basic needs are cared for and since they do not have girl friends they have no one to take out for a soda. Life and excitement comes in through virtual games played on expensive phones and I pod tech equipment providing all the mental stimulation needed to feel a part of the world’s experience.
They do not like to listen to advice so college may come as a shock when they find they must leave their sheltered privilege environment. They lack the skills of human communication with real people in environments, especially environments that are not interested in their comfort. Professors will expect you to enter into a classroom with some idea about life and culture and the understanding of the diversity of the human population. You cannot learn this background prerequisite information from textbooks or exciting interactive game; you must bring it with you from family, friends and neighborhood interactions.
You must have heard and know the human stories of survival over the centuries and be prepared to join in discussions on the diversity and similarity in the human experience. A course in psychology will mean nothing if you never paid any attention to uncle Charlie and why he acted the way he did, and noted the family’s response to aunt Martha’s peculiar dress and eating habits. Those minimum wage jobs begin to take on meaning when you learn that many students have them, and some have more than one to pay for transportation, books or even a cold drink. College involves movement around campus, and prompt attendance may take planning when classes are located at each end of the campus and you have ten minutes to avoid lateness.
The professors are not your parents and will not remind you to stop by the library and pick up the assignment required for today’s class. If you have not been required to do anything for yourself except attend high school, and wait for a school bus to pick you up, you are going to have considerable shock therapy when you plug into life and its interactions. Perhaps you should have talked a little more to dad, mom and grandpa, at least they had gone through this same experience, they may have add some pointers to help during this transition period. College is different and you are going to be around the best of the best.
There is nothing more challenging for a student of mistaken privilege to run into that hungry student; the students dedicated to being the best of the best and have used all resources in family circles and friends to accomplish specific goals to change their lives. There is no going back for these students, many foreigners, many second chance, many, first timers out to make family and friends proud. You cannot beat them, they are coming from the advantage of disadvantage, and they are motivated to do twice and three times the work of American students. Strong, steady, and disciplined are the criteria for success. Dot your “I’s” and cross your “T’s” and give the institution what it requires, give up being right and “win” and winning is the presenting of the degree upon graduation.
Do not enter into the college process to prove something or to right the wrongs done to previous generation, get in, get through and get out. Careful in your writings, this is an institution, and all writings are subject to review. College is not the place to reveal all the intimate details of your life and history; something’s are better left between you and God. There is a college form and style of writing, learn it; there is also the college form and style of giving your own opinion, the best advice is to never give your opinion on anything until you have developed the form and style. Read and join your opinion with the opinion of respected scholars. Agree to disagree with the best minds in literature or research, and do not fall into the trap of giving personal opinion even when requested. Respect the professors by presenting typed and edited papers. Promptness is importance, and absence from class is considered a lack of interest
Term papers should contain 30% of the exact words and work presented by the professors during lecture sessions. Use the correct form when using the professor’s words and ideas. Professor Kindred said…. He further discussed…Dr. Kindred suggests…. Thirty percent of your paper should include material from the assigned readings in your textbooks. Correct form should also be used in this section when using the ideas of others. Thirty percent of your paper should include references to how the class and the material covered increased your knowledge about the topic. Included in this section should be the Bibliography of all the books you used in preparing the term paper. The final 10%, should go into presentation- well-typed and edited papers go a long way in improving your final grade. Present the paper with a titled page including the name of the institution, name of the professor, your name- date prepared, and the topic of the paper. This should be present in a clear folder with pages numbered and stapled together. It is important to keep good notes; whatever the professor writes on the board should be in your notebook. Do not depend on memory, you may be engaged during class time, but other responsibilities could lessen the ability to retain all spoken information. Note taking is very important, if the professor says it, you write it The professors is interested in the degree to which you are paying attention and receiving the intended information.
Use this technique in all courses, treat each course as if it is the only course you are taking, do not expect the professors to be concerned about your other classes or responsibilities, the only course of interest is the course you are in presently. Proof read all papers before presentation. The mind has a tendency of playing tricks, you may think one way and write another, omitting words intended to be included. The paper should flow. Always have an introductory paragraph telling the reading what you intend to do in the paper. The middle part of the paper must be consistent with the introduction. The last part of the paper should have your conclusion. In the conclusion you discussed what you presented in the paper, it is at this point that you can inject some opinion of the work and the benefits you received from the class. The final and separate page includes all references used including the textbook and publisher. The last step in the process is to go back to the syllabus and check to see that all requirements were covered. The professor will usually include in the syllabus the requirements for the term paper- check these requirements carefully. Do not add or subtract from the assignment, stay on course and on point finish the course. If you are required to submit your work through e-mail, make 3 hard copies- e-mails get lost; professors may not receive the paper. When you return to class present a hard copy to the professor, save the other 2 hard copies for your record. Always keep your work in 3 places, 2 different technology sources, and one hard copy. Your are responsible for your education and requirements.
There is a difference between the Liberal Arts courses and the STEM courses. The liberal Arts courses are designed to make you an educated well- rounded person. Make sure you take a course in Ancient History so that you can get an idea concerning the development of human history. Ancient History should take you back thousands of years, starting in Africa, crossing Asia, traveling through Greek and Roman Mythologies and histories. Work your way through Europe and the great Kings of England; spend a significant amount of time in English literature, capturing the great works of – Chaucer-Shakespeare, Lord Bryon, Shelly-Milton and Keats. Go into American history and discover the character and courage of a people struggling through many wars to make a new experiment on earth. Learn the difference between F. Scotts Fitzgerald and William Faulkner- and which image America likes to protray and why?
Study theology and the religions of the world to determine how man received his moral character. Psychology and sociology are important and required since those courses helps you to understand your fellow riders on this globe. Psychology takes you through the individual mind- sociology with reveal group behaviors. The Art and Music appreciation courses will reveal the wonderful accomplishments of the human soul as thought and feeling are transformed into tangible form. Government, political science and economics are practical courses increasing an understanding of who gets what when and why in the world and the factors influencing world events.
English composition and logic- may sound easy, but there are professors who firmly believe that there is no such thing as a perfect English paper, and will give you low grades on your best efforts. When faced with an individual of this type, the best strategy is to copy each word they say, write or think, review the words with the professor, and give them back, almost word for word and thought for thought. Give the proper citation, including class where the information was given. Physical education adds a different dimension to learning, select an area of physical education and try to enjoy the experience. Sit as near to the front of the class as you can in order to take in all the information and movements of the professor-without being distracted by the other students.
Come to class prepared and ready to participate-professors appreciate contributions-but you must be prepared- include additional reading related to assignments-professors notice. Pay careful attention to the opening first day of class; it is at this time that an overview of the course is given. Take careful notes, everything said in the orientation. The syllabus is very important, and the listed requirements for grades and final papers. Double check the syllabus at the end of the class to determine if you have completed all of the requirements listed. The professors may appear to be open and friendly and may go off topic at times- you are expected to complete all written assignments regardless how the course is conducted. Again- I repeat make duplicate and triple copies of all work. Papers do get lost, and you may just be one of hundred’s of students in the several classes of the instructor. Enjoy the learning process and do not go off into geek la-la land. Do not become a party animal-remember the entire campus and rooms are under observation, and you do not want to do anything that may prove to be a problem later. Have fun-enjoy yourself but always be in control of you. Professors observe how you work and play-do not make college- a hundred thousand dollar party- on your parent’s dime.
The science and technology courses require concentration- you will not be able to read tech books the way you read liberal arts books. Science does not flow and you will study a paragraph at a time. Write in and mark up your test book with comments and thoughts about what you are reading and doing. You will have different professors with different personalities. You must learn to adjust to the personality and needs of the professor, and give them the academic excellence they need. Pass the course – get your degree- and then become brilliant – you are there to learn from the best minds- take advantage of the opportunity- these professors will become the foundations of your knowledge base, and each time you open your mouth you will be saying something you have learned in college-so pay attention-while your brain is being programmed. If you find that after 2 or 3 sessions with a particular professor-that you may have personality clashes-or you are not grasping the material, speak to your counselor about a section change. You will eventually learn the sections of a particular course to take depending on who is teaching the class.

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