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College Success

Mindset for Success, What to DO,

What NOT to Do, Email Etiquette

Reading Notes

Mindset for Success

You have to want to be here - in this classroom, in this college. Your professor did not force you to come to college and to be in this class. You made the choice. Own your choice to be in college, to be in that classroom - that is the first step to college success!

The primary objective of college learning is to equip yourself with advanced tools for lifelong learning. The process of learning is experiential and exponential - the more you learn, the more you CAN learn.


Be open to learning inside the classroom & out, from your professors, your peers, from people you like & people you don't, from experiences that inspire & those that make you question.

When it comes to learning something new, the “I already knew that” attitude disengages your #growthmindset and prevents you from connecting & integrating new information into productive knowledge.  Even if you know something that is being taught, give yourself the advantage of viewing the information from a different perspective.

A path toward career success necessarily includes professionalism.  You will not suddenly attain professionalism the day you graduate.  Professionalism is a learned/ acquired and practiced conduct.

    What to DO

    Have a "Due Date" calendar and note the dues dates of labs/ assignments/ exams/ papers. 

    Have a notebook or folder for each class

    Take notes in every single class

    If you miss a class, get notes from a reliable classmate (and return the favor)

    Know how the class grades are distributed e.g. what is each assignment or exam worth (this info should be on the class syllabus).

    Go to class on time (see note on professionalism)

    Don't be intimidated by anyone. Ask the question. Nobody knows everything. 

    Advocate for yourself - you are paying to learn from instructors who should know how to teach.

    Spend 20 minutes each day looking over the material you learned in each class. If you do this, you will retain the material, connect the pieces, and be ready for tests/ assignments.


    Get a good night's rest. This is a game-changer. 

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      What NOT to Do

      Don't allow one bad grade, or one bad class, or bad semester to derail you from your dreams. (the most successful people in the world have failed hard, but they failed fast and kept moving.)

      Don't wait till the day before the exam to start studying. You might pass the course, but you will miss the necessary connections that will enhance your learning and prepare you for higher learning.

      Don't wait to ask your professor for help. When you do not understand a concept, ask for help because that piece of information may be an essential building block. You will also avoid frustration. 

      Don't skip a class or lab just because you did not do the assignment - it will lead to a downward spiral and possibly a failed class.

      Do not hesitate to take advantage of resources like peer mentoring, tutoring, professor office hours, counseling for mental health, career counseling for internship opportunities, and resume help. Your college website has this information and these resources should not cost you anything extra.  Do not wait for anyone to lead you to these opportunities. Go get 'em! 

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        Email Etiquette with Professors

        The tone, content, and quality of your email reflect your professionalism. There is a difference between texting and emailing;  your texts to your friends/ family can be casual BUT your emails to professors (and colleagues) must be professional. Your professors are potential recommenders for jobs/ opportunities/ graduate programs. Represent yourself professionally at all times.

        Address the professor e.g. Dear Dr. or Professor [name]

        Sign the email with your name/ class/ section (the professor will be pleased :-) )

        Avoid long wordy emails. They are hard to read during a very busy day. As an example, if you have 3 points of concern, number them, leave a space between each, and be as succinct as possible. You have a higher chance of receiving a useful and timely response.

        Emails are forwardable, so be professional. [I forward questionable emails to the chair or dean, like the time a student wanted to "talk turnkey" with me regarding a grade]

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