No. 2: Minimal accountability at the lower level
With more teachers backed into a corner over how they teach, grade, and deal with students who are simply not putting forth the effort, there are many more cases where students are merely passed along instead of being taught to a level of competency before continuing on.
That gravy train typically goes off the rails in one’s freshman year of college, unless the same unfair pressures are placed on a university’s instructors in which case the boom gets lowered afterward with a student’s first real job or professional challenge.
Delaying accountability does not convince a student they need to study at a crucial time when they are receptive and open to the challenge. The longer we go, the harder it becomes to reprogram.
Tips on Choosing Your College Major
Since this is a huge decision, you should take some time to contemplate your options. Don’t be too fast in making your choice, because if you make the wrong one, that would be years of time, money, and energy wasted. Put the college brochures down for a while and just think of what would ultimately work best for you. Remember, it’s a combination of dreaming and realistic thinking.
#1 DON’T BASE IT ON YOUR CURRENT INTERESTS
When deciding on which major to take, you should always consider your interests because your level of fascination for a certain field will greatly impact your performance. If you don’t like what you do, you won’t be happy, and you won’t excel in your field. Who would ever want that? Consider your interests, but don’t dwell on your current interests. By your ‘current’ interests, these are the ones that you think you enjoy now, but you might move on from them in the future. These are fleeting fascinations. If you’re suddenly interested in makeup, chances are, going to beauty school isn’t for you.
Assume you have no idea what you want to do with your life (which is entirely okay, by the way). Is it really reasonable to pursue a degree you enjoy without even a hazy sense of what you want to do after graduation? If your degree does not directly lead to a career route, deciding which path to take can be challenging. When the excitement of graduation day wears off, you may find yourself feeling lost or confused about what to do next.
The exorbitant cost of universities makes selecting the proper subject even more critical – and many students are also considering which courses will provide them with the best value for money and return on investment. With this in mind, it may deter students from pursuing a course they truly enjoy (in the arts) in favor of pursuing a more traditionally employable field.
#2 FIND SOMETHING YOU’VE BEEN PASSIONATE ABOUT FOR A LONG TIME
If you’ve been passionate about something for a long time, it means that that aspect of yourself means a lot to you. You have to choose your college program when you’re around eighteen years of age. It’s almost impossible for you not to know your passions by that time. If you started loving dance when you were in kindergarten and you still love it to this day, that’s what you call a passion.
Being productive is tightly related to being enthusiastic. If you’re truly passionate about anything, you’ll feel satisfied with what you’ve accomplished during and after work hours. The by-product of your job will be something you are proud of, motivating you to continue doing it.
In addition, how much you enjoy your job impacts your mental health because doing something you don’t like daily can eventually consume you. Doing something you enjoy getting up for in the morning, on the other hand, might help you not only feel better but also get lost in the job if you’re having troubles in other aspects of your life. According to one study, spending time doing what we enjoy helps us to be happier and less stressed. Your employment can be a form of escape. And when this happens, your productivity may increase due to the increased attention on your job.
#3 BE REALISTIC
Not everyone gets to choose a program just because it’s their passion. Sometimes, circumstances get in the way, so you have to settle by choosing the program that seems realistic, but satisfies part of your passions, at least. If you want to take Interior Design, but the nearest university that offers it is cities away and moving would cost you too much, then you can settle for similar programs like Architecture.
Being realistic also means you understand the struggles of taking that program. If you have always wanted to be a Lawyer, but you hate memorization and reading, then you might have to reevaluate how much you actually want to be a lawyer. Remember, reaching your dreams requires putting in a lot of hard work. Be sure that you’re ready to do that.
#4 IMAGINE YOURSELF YEARS FROM NOW
Do you want to be a surgeon? Imagine yourself at the hospital ten years after finishing school. Do you think your future self would be happy? If yes, go ahead. If not, scrap the idea. You should always be thinking forward because your college program can greatly determine how your life will be shaped. It’s probably one of the greatest and scariest decisions, really. If possible, think about your future happiness with every decision that you make.
Furthermore, some people are highly ambitious and do not want to limit themselves to just one major. Most institutions offer a plethora of majors in various subjects, making it difficult to choose just one! However, there is good news: many universities allow students to double major. It’s an excellent choice for those who want to get in-depth knowledge of the second topic of study.
Use downtime to your advantage
Beware of ‘easy’ weeks. This is the calm before the storm. Lighter work weeks are a great time to get ahead on work or to start long projects. Use the extra hours to get ahead on assignments or start big projects or papers. You should plan to work on every class every week even if you don’t have anything due. In fact, it is preferable to do some work for each of your classes every day. Spending 30 minutes per class each day will add up to three hours per week, but spreading this time out over six days is more effective than cramming it all in during one long three-hour session. If you have completed all of the work for a particular class, then use the 30 minutes to get ahead or start a longer project.
McGuire, S.Y. & McGuire, S. (2016). Teach Students How to Learn: Strategies You Can Incorporate in Any Course to Improve Student Metacognition, Study Skills, and Motivation. Stylus Publishing, LLC.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 License.
You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Learning Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill