A few years back, I had two male students who made some bad decisions. The first was to literally throw away a college education that someone else was paying for. They showed up late for class or not at all, knowing that they would be penalized for their attendance behaviors. No sweat. They didn’t care.
They didn’t turn in homework. Was the instructor really serious that they had to turn things in? What does “on time” mean? That’s a flexible concept right? Nope.
They didn’t take notes. Wasn’t the professor required to give them her Power Point notes? Nope.
They didn’t study for tests. They felt sure that they could remember everything the professor had said. No sweat. No luck at that, either.
They believed that the assigned speeches could be given without research and without practice (hey, they had the gift of gab and figured they could “wing it” and the instructor would never notice. She noticed, big time).
They completed the semester with a bit of a problem: they both flunked. That was fine, though, because they hadn’t really wanted to go to college anyway. They were both going to get jobs and bring in tons of money. Who needs college when you have their personalities?
Well, I saw them about three years later. They were back in my class. I recognized them as I called attendance. Both of them came up to me after class and apologized for their previous behavior. They had been experiencing a major reality check.
You see, they were two African American teens who had barely made it out of high school. Those killer jobs they were going to get never materialized. Instead, they both made change at a gas station, where they had plenty of time to discuss how they had messed up this college thing.
Three years later, they were back in college, but this time their parents were making them pay for it themselves. The interesting thing was that they had realized just how impossible it was to make it in the world without that sheepskin. This time, they were serious.
They attended every class, on time or early. They made excellent speeches and got straight A’s on exams. They went from the lowest grades in the class to becoming the best students I had that term. Sad thing, it took them three years to figure this college thing out.
Don’t make the same mistakes they did. Take college seriously from Day One and you will be on your way to that dream job. Otherwise, you too could be making change in a gas station.