|California State University, Sacramento Department of Sociology|
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How to Make and "A" in My Courses
How many of you signed up for this course with the expectation of making an “ A “ ? Whether, this is the case or not, I hope you will strongly consider these suggestions. I feel that these suggestions will assist you, not only in this course, but in any academic course. The following comments will hopefully encourage you to be the best in any endeavor including your college education.
Be DecisiveMake a conscious decision to be the best at whatever you chose to do in life. You can only be your best by doing your best. No great woman or man achieved great heights of success without discipline. All great artists, composers, and professional athletes learned at an early age to use their time wisely in developing their crafts. Decide from this moment forward that everything you do will reflect your highest potential. Every assignment, quiz, examination, and every paper is a reflection of your highest level of performance. Be decisive and strive for excellence.
Be PreparedIt is not possible to achieve excellence in any course without preparation before class. Your time is priceless, so, use it wisely. This will require sacrifices to accomplish. Make a schedule of all your courses at the beginning of the semester. Set aside time every week for reading, organizing notes, going to the library, doing homework, and writing papers. Inform your family and friends that this time is necessary for the achievement of your life-long goals. I am sure they will understand. Well, even if they don’t, take charge of your own future. Be prepared.
Show UpThere is no substitute for attending every meeting of the course. Education is ultimately a life-long process of learning. We learn from our professors, our peers, and from the classroom environment. You must be present to be actively involved in your learning. Allow the process of higher education to work. Every student has the potential to be an “A” student. Yes, you have all the potential you need to become an excellent student, that is, if you are not already. If you are, you would agree that, exceptional students take an active role in the educational process. They not only gain from the learning environment, they also bring important resources into the process of learning via their comments and writing assignments. Professors, teachers, and instructors are educable too. We learn from you as well. These students also take advantage of office hours. Office hours are a great opportunity to get inside the professors head. During this time students soon discover that professors are human too. Besides, they have all been right where you are. For some of us, a long, long, long, long time ago we sat were you are sitting today. Your visit to our offices serve as a constant reminder not to forget from whence we have come.
Make Your Presence KnownSome courses allow students to actively participate in class discussions. Usually this is determined by the time constraints upon the course. This is an opportunity for you to shine. Speak up and put your two cents in. In my experience, students who participate in class tend to retain more information than students who tend to be more passive. Make your presence felt. The “A” student is not afraid to be wrong. So what, if you don’t get everything right. The classroom is the place to get things right. It is in the “real world” that we need to be careful. So, ask your questions and participate in discussions when possible.
Lighten Up!My final suggestion for you, is to have a sense of humor. Humor enables you to use your creativity in word and thought. It’s ok to approach the subject matter of the course with a sense of humor. Humor enables you to develop a critical ear and eye on any subject. Consider, why sociologists have spent their entire lives, including their parent’s money, student loans, blood, sweat, and tears trying to study something called “society.” For now over a century they have observed, tested, pre-tested, post-tested, and retested the data. And yet, no one has ever seen one single society. Have you ever seen a society? If so, what did it look like? How big was it? What color was it? You’ve got to approach this stuff with a sense of humor. However, this may be easier for some subjects and more difficult for others (like physics). But a little humor goes a long way in relieving the stress and anxiety of academic study. Even in physics courses. Have a sense of humor. Take your college education seriously but not too seriously.