This appeared in my Facebook feed via the Washington Post: “The 7 things new college students don’t know that drive professors crazy.” Written by a former high school teacher turned college professor, this outlines some of the DON’Ts of interacting with college professors, at least from this one faculty member’s point of view.
Your students are either slammed with finals/vegging out if theirs are over/or for the incoming freshmen they are still in high school, so this might not be the moment to share this with them. I submit it to you as background reading for you to see one way of looking at the faculty-student relationship in college. Read and reflect, and if it interests you, have a conversation with your students about it over the summer.
Doesn’t have to be a lecture about these dos and don’ts, it can just be a conversation. For those who have current freshmen through juniors, maybe you ask your Deac about what differences they have experienced with teachers in high school vs college professors (‘hey, I saw this interesting article – does this ring true to you? it’s been a long time since I was in college/I didn’t go to college and am curious about this‘ kind of thing). In talks like these where you are trying to learn more about their lives, ask lots of questions – and listen more than talk.
For those with new incoming freshmen, maybe you share this more directly as a nonchalant FYI for them to read or not as they see fit.
And a final thought. I happened upon this picture on the internet a few days ago. It seems especially fitting as finals come to a close. I worry about college students (not just at Wake, at any school with a high-achieving student body) feeling like they have to push and push themselves to be as busy (or busier) than the next person, as sleep-deprived as the next person, etc., just to prove they are in fact working hard. My message on this is:
Stop the madness.
Self-care is not selfish, it’s healthy. Getting enough sleep, nutritious food, and exercise is healthy. Not feeling like you have to out-do your hallmates in terms of how late you stay up, how tired you are, or how many hours you logged in the ZSR does not have to be a badge of honor or a sign of your commitment to your education.
My dream is that we have a student-led revolution where they agree to slow down, stop feeling like they have to compete with anyone else in how hard they work (or play), and do what feels most natural to them. A change like this would have to come from students being brave enough to say they are willingly stepping off the gerbil wheel of perceived expected college student behavior, and honoring what is best for them.
I would love to see some new recruits in the living lives of balance/self-care army 🙂