Advice from Faculty

Tomorrow officially marks the second half of the semester. While the majority of our courses are full semester classes, there are some half-semester courses that will begin tomorrow. And in the spirit of starting fresh – or recommitting to best practices, I want to share some advice that faculty members offered our new students at New Student Convocation back in August. Though the audience at that event was new students, this is advice applicable to students of all years. These suggestions have been lightly edited.

Discover new knowledge. Discover your potential. Discover how you can contribute to your community in a positive way. 

Remember that education is one thing that can never be taken from you. It is the knowledge that you gain here — that is eternal. 

Go. To. Class. Every. Day. See your professor when you have a question — don’t wait! 

Get outside. Go for walks. Slow down and breathe.

As you do your work, approach that work thinking that you are studying for yourself, not for the class or for the professor. 

Now is not the time to go it alone, but rather to ask for help and accept the gifts that others have to offer … and to reciprocate those gifts back to others. 

Your friendship will be one of the most important influences on your character. Choose wisely. Who you choose to be your friends will help to determine the person you become.

Understand that the road to success is paved with smaller failures. Know that perfection is impossible.

Show up. Get to class and participate. Go to concerts, sports events, plays, special lectures. You can’t do everything, but show up every day with the goal of making the most of what is offered to you here. 

Do things that are hard; you’ll find it was worth your time. 

Don’t be afraid to change. Change your major. Change your beliefs. Change your life. Growth can be uncomfortable, but it is worth it. 

Take a class you don’t think you’ll enjoy. Meet your professors and find 2-3 mentors. Say yes to opportunities. Study abroad. Do research with a faculty member. Serve in the community. Look out for each other. 

Always know your worth is more than a good or bad grade. Never be afraid to shine and don’t be afraid of helping other people shine. You can do this. Trust your community, and trust yourself. 

Do the reading 🙂

Honor yourself by asking for help when you need it. This is a supportive campus community that offers the resources you need to succeed and to be your best self. 

Practice grace. Welcome humility. Embrace beauty. Embody love. 

Think about what you would say to your mother (or little brother or grandfather) if you were to cheat on an assignment and then get caught. Avoid having that conversation by avoiding academic misconduct in the first place. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The faculty want you to succeed.

Don’t only seek understanding in the classes you take. Seek an understanding of yourself. Figure out your character and how that character can be developed to change the world, whether locally, nationally, or globally. To make change, you must first know yourself. Take the time to do it!

Enjoy the journey. It will be over before you know it and the memories of it will be with you for the rest of your life.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Many thanks to my wise faculty colleagues who provided such good advice!

One more item for today: ’25s got their Letters So Dear yesterday, and our Weekly Message for First-Year Families also went up yesterday. This week’s message asks the question “if *I* do it, what is my student learning?’

— by Betsy Chapman, Ph.D. (’92, MA ’94)

Categories: the daily deac

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