If I could write a letter to my students, this is what it would say.
1. God is preparing you… so be a good steward of your education.
Learning is a responsibility… not just a grade. God gives us opportunities to learn, and we should do this to the best of our ability. Once you get out of college, you pay your bills based on the money you bring in not the grade you get from a teacher. Treat your studies like a job. Practice now, because you will learn soon enough that your job won’t fail you or give you a ‘zero’ for not doing your work. They will fire you.
Test, quizzes, writing assignments, and projects are designed to track your learning progress. Use these experiences to guide you throughout your educational experience. It is your responsibility to learn. Communicate with your teachers when you are having difficulty learning. We are here to help.
2. Attitude is everything
I would rather work with someone that is less talented with a great attitude, than with someone that is super talented with a poor attitude. Work on your attitude. Learn from your bad attitude days and find ways to change your attitude.
3. Life is not easy.. don’t make excuses & stop whining
If life was easy… everyone would be good at it… only the successful rise to the top. Successful people have the same life issues as unsuccessful people. However, successful people learn how to overcome their difficulties. They strive longer and harder for success.
Think about your grandparents. What have they overcome for you and your family to have the opportunities that you have today? If you slack up today, how are you affecting your own future, and the future generations? Work hard. Don’t make excuses. Get the job done. You will see the fruits of your labor (good or bad).
4. No one ever truly knows their own potential… so don’t sell you self-short.
Dream big. I am only the person I am today because people saw potential in me. They encouraged me. However, I have had my fair share of non-supporters in my life. They didn’t believe in me, and at times I thought I wasn’t going to amount to much. I found out the hard way… no one truly knows your full potential.
Start with small successes. Let each success prepare you for your next opportunity. Seek out challenges and you will get stronger. You will grow from each experience.
Find other people that are successful in your chosen profession. Get to know their life story. Connect with these people early in life, and you will find that many people work hard to get to the top.
5. Rules are generally safe boundaries… Embrace them.
Don’t touch the hot stove. Literally… don’t touch it. We can easily see why this rule is valid and important. The rules of life are not always that clear in why we should or should not follow them. For example, I have a no cell phone policy in my class. The reason I don’t allow cell phones is because you generally should not be playing with your cell phone in a professional setting. If you play with it during a meeting, you could be perceived as unprofessional or disrespectful. So why practice this bad behavior in college? I could go on and on with examples. The point is… when you encounter a rule about life, relationships, finances, ect. .. Just know that this is God’s way of protecting you. Embrace them.
This letter is not specifically for my students. It is more of a reflection of my own experiences and the lessons I have learned the hard way. I know my students may not understand this even if I told them… but I wish I would have learned these lessons the easy way.