Attitude, time management critical for student success in college

By Samantha Knight - Staff Reporter



Rebecca Benderliy credits her academic success to her confident mindset.

"You have to believe in your- self in order to succeed," she said.

Alyza Serania attributes her success at Highline to her will- ingness to reach out to her in- structors and ask for help.

"I always visit my professor's office hours when I need clari- fication or am confused about something," she said.

Anita Lats said that the big- gest lesson she's learned in col- lege is how to manage her time. "Time management is huge because if I don't manage my time, with all I have going on in and outside of school, I'm

screwed."
College is an art, and a sci-

Professors and students on campus agree that a positive attitude, communication skills, and the ability to manage one's time wisely, are the keys to sur- viving and thriving in school.

It requires that students take the steps to ensure their own success.
The art of college – attitude, resources and time management – are crucial components to excelling in school.

A student's successful at- titude encompasses a num- ber of things which include embracing a growth mind- set, being open-minded and interested, critical thinking, and confidence.

"Curiosity is really im- portant because if you're curious, you're open to new ways of thinking, new ideas and new perspectives," said Woody Moses, a Highline environmental science pro- fessor.

It's all about embracing that growth mindset, he said.

"We have patterns we like to follow, and we adhere to those patterns even when they're not working for us," Moses said.

He said that students get caught up doing what's comfortable without thinking about how those patterns may be prohibiting their ability to learn and grow.

By pushing outside of their comfort zone, students become open to new ways of thinking and new opportunities.  

"Wonder why something is the way it is," said Highline reference librarian Deborah Moore.  

Being curious, inquisitive and open to things that seem interesting might take you in an unexpected direction. 

Moore said that she didn't know what she wanted to do and felt stuck between majors in college.  

She was told to speak to a faculty member who, she said, shared a valuable piece of advice with her. 

"I've picked the path in life that seemed most interesting to me," the faculty member told her, "and it has led me to where I wanted to be."

When you find a topic that you're actually interested in, you can really start expanding your wealth of knowledge, she said.

Another important aspect to a successful attitude is the dedication to evaluate important research and information.

"Don't just accept something," Moore said.

This is where critical thinking comes into play, she said. Students need to be able to evaluate what is the best information for their need.

"You want content that is coming from a more balanced and objective point of view," she said. 

She suggested using Highline's online databases in order to find quality research on just about any topic. 

Research can be exhausting at times and at others it may even be intimidating or discouraging. 

When students find themselves feeling like this it can be all too easy for self-deprecating thoughts such as "I'm so stupid," or "I can't do this," to seep in, said Benderliy, who is a writing tutor at Highline.

"The biggest challenge is overcoming your insecurities," she said. 

Benderliy said that by having the confidence to push through, she proves to herself that she actually can do anything she puts her mind to. 

Learning is all about your mindset, she said. 

 "If you come into a class thinking that you're not going to learn anything, then you'll leave the class having learned nothing. On the other hand, if you tell yourself every day, 'I'm going to learn something,' it'll happen," Benderliy said. 

You're not just taking a class to learn the subject, she said, in every class you take you're learning how to learn.

Librarian Deborah Moore encouraged students to flip their perspective from the negative mindset of "Oh I have to do this," to a more productive mindset of "What am I doing this for?"

Embracing the ups and downs is the key to making the most of one's college experience. 

"Above all students should make sure they have some fun and enjoy the process," said Dr. Anthony Newton, an accounting professor on campus. 

He said that learning is a lifetime pursuit, and that people should always be in search of knowledge and growth opportunities. 

Instructors on campus stressed that the next key to being successful in school is taking advantage of all your resources, including communicating with your instructors, going to the Tutoring Center, and building a support network. 

Reference librarian Moore said that students avoid talking to their instructors because they're afraid to let them know that they aren't understanding course content. 

"If you go to their office hours, the instructor puts a face to your name, gets to know you better and you'll actually do better in the class because they'll make a personal connection with you," Moore said. 

Students agreed that when they reach out to their instructors during office hours it's always helpful.

 "I remember going to one of my instructors and told her about my transportation situation and she worked with me to find a way to make up the work I missed," Alyza Serania said. 

"I was learning a ton in my film studies class and to make sure I was learning the right stuff I would go to his [the professor's] office hours for clarification and it was always so helpful," Benderliy said. 

Anit Lats said that college has forced her to come out of her shell and learn the importance of communicating with her instructors.

"If I don't ask, then I'll fail," she said. 

Woody Moses, environmental science instructor, said that the key to being successful in his classes is being able to effectively communicate with not only him but with peers and other faculty as well. 

 "Utilize your networks, think about who else can you talk to if talking to your instructor hasn't been able to help you," he said. 

When it comes to research, librarian Moore urged students to take advantage of her as a resource before they're so frustrated they're banging their head against a wall.  

"If you're having a hard time finding something, ask someone," she said. "That's what everyone on campus is here for." 

The Tutoring Center can be another awesome resource for students, whether they're having a hard time in math or simply want some feedback on a research paper. 

Highline student Alyza Serania said that she goes to the Tutoring Center when she's struggling with her writing.   

"There's a specific tutor I always go to when I'm looking for help in my writing. I really like her and feel like she's helped improve my writing skills overtime," she said. 

Between their instructors/advisers, their peers, campus tutors and librarians, students should know that they are not alone going through this process, Moore said. 

"Build your own tool box of people, networks and resources," she advised. 

Both a dedicated attitude and strong support network are important aspects to doing well in school but both professors and students conclude that the most important key to being a successful student is time management. 

"Study early and study often," said Moses. "Consistency is more important than duration." 

He said that studying for 10-15 minutes a day is way better than cramming for the exam. 

Students tend to fall behind when they are not taking the right precautions and planning ahead, said librarian Moore.

"The ability to be able to take a project, manage it and make sure you're able to meet deadlines, is a very useful skill," she said. 

Having a sense of urgency to get school work done is a learned behavior, writing tutor Rebecca Benderliy said.  

"Motivate yourself," she said. "Remind yourself that if you get it done now, you'll have free time later as opposed to having free time now, and scrambling later to get it done." 

On average, Highline students spend two to three hours a day on their homework assignments and studying, even trying to fit in some time on the weekends. 

Students say the key to staying focused for long hours working on their school work is by taking breaks, getting snacks and mixing it up.

"It's hard for me to focus on only one thing for a long time because I'll get bored or frustrated, so like to change the subject I'm studying to help keep me focused," Lats said. 

"When I study I give myself break times," Serania said, "I like to give my brain a break and get some snacks whenever I'm starting to feel burnt out so I can keep myself motivated." 

Overall, students and instructors alike agree that success in college is about what you do, not who you are.

Benderliy, the tutor, said that if you work hard enough, anyone can have success.  "College is what you make of it."



Mathew Thomson/THUNDERWORD

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