Over the years, I’ve talked to many groups of students about being successful in college. A few years ago I needed to distill all of those tips into five-minutes or less. Like so many things, tips for success in one arena can be applied in another. So here they are, modified for our Division, the five-minute version. (Some of you may recognize these from my #UTWisdom tweets.)
Three Tips for a Successful Year
Tip #1: Show Up!
When I say this to students, there are often a few snickers or embarrassed laughs in the room — is she kidding? But I’m quite serious. Just like students need to show up for class, we need to Show Up — physically and mentally — to be successful at anything. From a staff perspective, it means we need to get to work of course, but it also means we need to attend meetings, events, programs — even if they seem to take us away from our work. We all have tasks we have to accomplish and we can’t all go to everything, but we need to be part of the greater work of our departments and our Division of Student Affairs. Yes, all of the electronic ways to communicate are useful, but we need to get to know each other and we need to know what is happening outside our day-to-day tasks. The next time you are invited to something, I encourage you to Show Up!
Tip #2: Go For It!
We all know that the Show Up tip is just the beginning. Occupying a chair will only get you so far. We also have to be willing to get involved, ask questions, make suggestions and even disagree. We have to practice what we preach to students. We ask them to be involved in their education. We need to be involved in our work. I encourage you to care about the outcomes of your work. Even more, I ask you to care about the outcomes of someone else’s work. Don’t just stand back and watch, or even worse, complain. Find what you care about in the work we do and find a way to make it better. Come on, let’s Go For It!
Tip #3: Make It Your Own!
Students hear all sorts of advice on being successful and we do, too. These days, if you are involved in education, it seems like everyone has an opinion about what we do and how we can do it better. But here’s the reality: you know your job better than anyone else, you are the expert on your job and you are the one who is in a position to make it better. There are many things out of our control in the world, but we can always control our attitude. What can you do to make your workplace the best possible? How can your good attitude and good work influence someone else for the better? What can you do to make your own success? Looking for the answers to those questions will help you find a way to make your own success and in the process support the success of everyone around you.
I look forward to being part of this successful year in the UT Division of Student Affairs. I am excited to see just what amazing things will happen when we Show Up, Go For It and truly Make this Division of Student Affairs Our Own!
All the best,
P.S. I hope you’ll share your success stories in coming editions of the newsletter, through Twitter and on our Division Facebook and Web pages. Let’s share and celebrate the good work being done throughout our Division.