I’m always telling students in my college success classes how important it is to make connections. Research shows that students who make connections in college – including with other students, instructors, a career interest, or a club – are more successful as evidenced by higher gpa and improved retention/graduation rates. Those connections are important even after you’ve graduated…and been working for decades.
I have maintained a relationship with a student I had in CPD150 three semesters ago (we’ll call her Maria). One assignment in our class is to register for the following semester. I helped Maria choose her classes based on how she was doing in her first semester and her career interests. Turns out we got over-excited about her first semester success and she failed two classes her second semester. She re-enrolled for the following semester, but given her lack of a clear career goal starting talking about taking a break from college.
Still Maria perseveres and we continue to meet. She’s gotten a job on campus and developed a relationship with an academic advisor. This time around, I took my own advice of using the connections available by suggesting Maria and I meet together with the advisor to help Maria choose classes for Fall. The advisor is one I talked with when she was a student and so we already have great rapport for working together. Together, the three of us came up with an academic and career exploration plan that Maria expressed excitement about and with which we are all on board. Hopefully, with this new plan, Maria will improve her gpa and stay in school until she finishes a credential.
I’m so grateful for the connections I have with colleagues on campus as well as with students. In my small way, I hope those connections make the world a friendlier, more educated, and more peace-filled place!