By Glenn Fredenburg, April 2016
We are, if nothing else, adaptable creatures. To grow we have to periodically reflect, take measure of our faults and merits, and change where we can to develop personally and professionally. With a plan for growth, reasonable, and measurable goals, we can properly develop into rational professional people. When we fail to develop a plan for growth, chaos ensues. I, along with anybody, can draw lessons from their time as a college student.
- 1. Don’t get distracted.
I easily get distracted even though I usually have already read the class requirements, rubric, and schedule, so I should know what’s coming up. I also don’t like pressure – so why do I do this to myself? How do I get to the point where I feel rushed to get rolling on an assignment? Electronics. I have an open connection to the internet and if I don’t fully invest in the day’s assigned class load, I tend to wander. Note to self – close social media tabs! A streaming music station is okay while I’m reading, but video streaming interferes with my ability to retain what I read.
- 2. Don’t procrastinate.
When I know there’s a paper due in two weeks, I promise to get started on it ‘tomorrow’, not knowing that ‘tomorrow’ I may have to deal with a family crisis or some other life event that requires my intervention. I need to be focused like a laser on the task at hand and just get the work done. There will be just as much time after I do my school task for whatever else I wanted to do that night. When I went for my Associates’ in nursing, I made a name tag – “Glenn, RN” and hung it on my visor where I had to look at it every morning on the drive in. Just because there’s no drive now doesn’t mean I can’t do the same thing. Besides, what’s more important – leveling up my video game character or getting my Bachelor’s degree? New name tag – “Glenn, RN BSN” coming. Next week.
- 3. Don’t let the little things get to you.
I didn’t do well on my first test, and I was so worried it would tank my GPA, that I started to blow off the classwork. It was time to refocus on the class, get perspective on the grade, and listen to the professor when she says there’s still time to salvage it. There won’t be if I keep letting the ‘whoops’ of that first assignment drag me down mentally. It was time to set the fear and guilt aside and move on. I am my worst critic when I do poorly, so try to give yourself credit whenever you move forward.
- 4. Try not to be pushy.
I’m pushy, but in a good way. I find I tend to take control in group events and sometimes I can dominate the agenda. I am indeed a Dominant personality (for those of you who have never taken a DiSC assessment, it’s worth the time). I tend to set the agenda, assign tasks, and push the project forward. When someone isn’t moving as fast as me or contributing as much, I may tend to set their contribution aside and just do the job myself, both at work and in school. This is a bad thing, as we should all have a chance to learn by our mistakes and gain praise through our contributions. Besides, nobody made me the king of school.
- 5. Give yourself credit.
I tend to work hard, try to get good grades, and discourage praise. I consider praise an intangible reward, unlike money. While you can’t count on it for getting the job, it’s still like the gold star in school that everyone likes…except me, apparently. It’s okay to be patted on the back and take the “Attaboy!” when things go well. I still need to get used to that.
So now it’s your turn for a little self-assessment on how you’re handling college. There are no right or wrong answers here, this is just for you. No one is grading, so be honest. Only then can you, too, learn and grow.
About the Author
Glenn Fredenburg has been a Registered Nurse for over 13 years, coming to the profession after a career in sales. His experience in nursing has been primarily in the critical care setting, with over ten years in the emergency room and intensive care areas. His mother is a retired nurse and urged him early in life to "become a nurse" because it's rewarding helping others heal and using your complete "toolbox" of skills to aid in the recovery of body and mind. In hindsight, his mother was right. Don't tell her.