AGL 012: Being Successful in College, 14 tips for Students

As a Professor and a leader, I’m passionate about college student’s success both in and out of the classroom. I should be an expert at this, seeing as I’ve been either in college or working for a college (I’m a professor) for more than 15 years.  Here are a few tips that will help students be successful.

  1. Stay busy (get involved) – Studies show that students that are involved in more than 1 campus organization or student activity have higher GPA’s than students that are not involved at all (source Department of Health and Human Services).  Plus involvement helps you build social skills, friends and a resume. When I was in college I was president of 5 campus organizations, in a fraternity and played lacrosse. Having little time helped force me to focus on what’s important.
  2. Make good habits early – You need to establish good patterns in your first two semesters of college.  After that, it becomes increasingly difficult to break bad habits.  Good habits include going to class, reading prior to class, eating healthy, staying active and staying safe. There will be future podcast on Habit forming… stay tuned!succes
  3. Take risks – I need to qualify this one… Take “Healthy” Risks.  Don’t play it safe.  Try new things (not dangerous things).  College is a time to find yourself and to meet your life long friends.  If you don’t take risks and get out there, you’ll be missing out on valuable experiences that you can never get back. Try starting a business, freelancing, meeting new people, just live with no regrets!
  4. Don’t delay (major courses, cultural events, etc) – Take your major courses early and get them out of the way. Save electives for last . Sometimes the major courses aren’t offered every semester and if you need to re-take one, or if you mess up your schedule, you might find yourself spending an extra semester or even year in college. I tell my kids.. to delay is to disobey.  Don’t Delay!
  5. Set goals and set triggers – Set goals for yourself every semester.  Be sure the goals are obtainable.  One study found in the book “Switch” states that if you set triggers, like specific times or places where you’ll work on your goals, you’ll be significantly more successful in meeting them. Set SMART Goals – Specific, Measurable, Results-oriented, and Time-bound.
  6. Take notes on paper (or a writing app) then type them up – Don’t take your laptop to class and type out your notes.  One, this is distracting and it gives you lots of opportunities to focus on something on your laptop instead of class itself.  Two, by writing your notes and then typing them up, it forces you to review them.
  7. Track your time (see where it goes) – Use a time tracking template to track where your time goes.  I recommend spending one week per semester doing this.  It’s eye-opening how much time goes into playstation and partying. Keeping a time journal is great, and you should record you time every semester as your schedule will likely change.
  8. Be safe and don’t be stupid – I’ve heard countless stories of students that did something stupid in college (like drinking and driving) and either killed themselves or put a big blemish on the rest of their life.  You can have fun and still be safe.  Please do so.
  9. Don’t ever say “I don’t have the time.” – You’ll understand this one a little bit better after you’ve graduated and have a full-time job with a toddler.  You ALWAYS have the time.  You just need to prioritize it (i.e. Make the time). Try saying, I’d rather ___ than ___. Just don’t say you don’t have the time.
  10. Get an internship or a job in your field while going to class – One of the best experiences that I had in college was working for UAV.  UAV gave me an opprotunity to work on websites, troubleshoot software and develop a love for IT.  It also gave me a really good piece of experience.  I took the job at UAV as an intern and gained valuable experience.  Oh, and I got hired for the internship because the hiring manager liked that I was involved on campus (See #1).
  11. Get to know your professors – I have 2 reasons for adding this one… 1) Professors are bored and we want to know our students.  We love to see students that take the effort to talk to us. 2) If you have some sort of professional relationship with your professors, you will subconsciencely work harder not to disappoint that professor.  This leads to better grades!
  12. Get in shape – College is a time when people usually put on some weight and get out of shape.  Speaking from experience, its a lot harder to build a habit of staying healthy after college than it is in college.  Be smart, get fit.  BONUS: Members of the opposite sex like fit people :)
  13. Volunteer for non-profits – There is no better piece of experience that you can get on your resume than from volunteering. It’s great to volunteer and give back. I can’t describe how good it makes you feel, and as a hiring manager, I look for people that volunteer. It speaks a lot about their character. And as a side note, I met my wife volunteering for a non-profit.
  14. Stay out of debt – One of the biggest mistakes that you can make is getting into debt.  It’s hard to get out of debt.  So my last piece of advice is to stay out of debt.  If you can’t pay for it from your checking account, then you don’t need it.

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October 30, 2015

AGL 012: Being Successful in College, 14 tips for Students

As a Professor and a leader, I’m passionate about college student’s success both in and out of the classroom. I should be an expert at this, seeing as I’ve been either in college or working for a college (I’m a professor) for more than 15 years.  Here are a few tips that will help students be successful. Stay busy (get involved) – Studies show that students that are involved in more than 1 campus organization or student activity have higher GPA’s than students that are not involved at all (source Department of Health and Human Services).  Plus involvement helps you build social […]
October 28, 2015

AGL 011: The Art of Negotiation, get a better deal, better salary and more.

You’ll never have more opportunity for salary negotiation than you do just before you accept you job.  If you already have a job and you’re happy where you work and the idea of looking for something else scares the crap out of you, there’s still hope.  You can still negotiate your salary or other perks at your job. So let’s say job negotiation isn’t what you’re looking for, you can negotiate other things too, basically, everything is negotiable.  If you have skills, you can also barter, which usually requires some negotiation skills. Do your pre-work.  You have to be confident […]
October 22, 2015

AGL 010: Book Review: Daniel Pink, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Dan Pink gave what might be one of my favorite TED talks of all time as he explained the puzzle of motivation (It’s also one of the most viewed with over 14 million views at the time of this posting).  This talk made me want to read his book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. This book changed the way I motivate my employees and teams.  It also inspired me to use the information in the book to motivate not only the people that reported to me, but others above me, and to the right and to the […]
October 19, 2015

AGL 009: Creative Rhythm – Focus, Relationships, Energy, Stimuli, Hours

In Todd Henry’s book “The Accidental Creative” he talks about five elements of Creative Rhythm.  As an IT Leader you’re called to make creative decisions and come up with brilliant solutions at a moment’s notice.  In a future episode I’ll do a full book review of “The Accidental Creative,” but I feel the 5 elements of creative rhythm is worthy of a show by it self. Creative Rhythms are important because as leaders we must understand that we can’t go all-in 100% of the time and expect to maintain our productivity, mind, and joy for our work. Consistency is important, […]
October 15, 2015

AGL 008: The Leadership Process, Leadership Training

If you do want to be a leader, you have to train. You have to work hard at it. It’s not just something that you can just try to do without work. Have you ever run a marathon? It’s not something that you can just go out and try. You have to put in a lot of time and effort to train for marathons. Becoming a leader is the same thing. You have to train hard. There is a difference between reading leadership books and training. Reading books is education, not training. Let me ask you this: Do you want […]
October 6, 2015

AGL 007: Overcoming Fear, Anxiety, and the Impostor Syndrome

  We all are afraid of something.  Being a leader demands bravery. In this episode I talk about getting over FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real). I list and explain these 4 steps for dealing with fear: Play it out. What’s the worse that can happen? What’s the likelihood of that thing happening? How can you reduce the likelihood of that happening? If the worse happens, how can you recover? We need to understand that everyone deals with fear.  The most successful people just “do it anyway.” Getting over the imposter Syndrome.  Check out this article from StartupBros on getting over. […]