this may not be a very popular thread, but it involves something that has been bothering me for a few weeks now. it is my hope that maybe it'll change the way some students may feel, and help them if they are (or ever will be) in this position.
as a faculty member, i am also an academic advisor. it seems that advisement is not as big of a role as it should be in our school, because many students do not seek advice. it is not been mandatory, and each faculty member has different beliefs about the process (forcing students to come in and talk to us). i do, however, do a lot of informal advisement (as a theory and clinical instructor, and often to those who are not my assigned advisees).
i can't say for sure why students do not come to advisement. maybe they feel they don't need it (if they are doing well in their classes), some do not want to face their advisor and admit they are not doing well, and might be of the belief that they will pull themselves out of the hole they are in. and this one i know to be true: some students are not comfortable with their assigned advisor (some have told me this, and have informally sought advice from others, like me).
but the thing that has been bothering me is when students are not doing well, and vow to stick with it, despite the things that are going on in their lives, and then fail. many are outright offended
at the mere suggestion of withdrawing from the class, or even taking a leave of absence. it doesn't cross their mind that maybe, just maybe
, we don't want you to fail, and are suggesting alternatives to it. it is often perceived as "she is telling me to give up". this semester, the themes i heard were "i can do it, i know i can", and "i was just going through a rough time that week (or month), or "i just didn't study for that last test because i had (fill in the blank) the night before. and from almost all of these students, there was something else going on: illness, family member (either parent or child), job stress, or just a general "taking on more than i can handle".
please do not misunderstand me: i am well aware of the issues that adult students face. i was one myself during my grad school, and i too had 'issues' i needed to overcome. so what did i do? i took less credits than i was planning on each semester, i went to my professor (it took a lot for me to do that), and took an incomplete on a course... twice. the first semester i tool the "i", my prof asked me if i had sought help. she put the ownness on me. she guided me in the right direction (the student assistance program), and i took advantage of the school's services. i eventually completed the course, and ended up graduating a semester later than i had hoped to.
being that my degree was in nursing ed, and knew i would face this issue (being on the other side of it), the experience taught me some valuable lessons:
- i was not invincible,
- i was not just going to pass,
- i had too much going on in my life that was standing in my way of succeeding
- i could not devote 100% of time and effort into my studies at the time
- that being in school another 6 months out of my life would not make a huge difference in the grand scheme of things.
i also realized that my professor was not just going to pass me because i did the right thing by going to her, and because she felt bad for me. i still had to work for my grade. and i feel like with some students, there is this sense of entitlement: "she is a single mom, she is pregnant, he works full time and has three kids and a wife to support, her mother just died". i apologize if this comes across as heartless, but the point i am triyng to make is that things happen for a reason. and if you happen to get through the semester withe a barely passing grade, is that enough for you?
also, one more thing. if an adivsor or an instructor says to you "you can do it", it doesn't mean you can go back and use that as the reason you chose not to withdraw. that expression is often used as a term of encouragement. it is not a promise, or a crystal ball reading. i have learned to be care very careful with my words
Jun 4, '09
I meant to say that ITA on the "sense of entitlement" some (not all) people seem to have (and I include people my own age in that statement as well - I'm 26). The sheer # of people in my A&P class that thought they should be catered to because they have children or other responsibilities amazed me. I work FT and have a family and those are MY choices/responsibilities not those of the instructor, school, or other students.
Last edit by peytonsmom on Jun 4, '09
: Reason: clarity