Stand Strong in College: 5 Skills Students Need for Success in College & Life! by 30Seconds Mom
Students around the country are getting ready to head back to campus, purchasing and packing things like comforters, coffee pots and computers. But in an op-ed for Fox News, religion and culture expert, author and national radio host Dr. Alex McFarland, author of “Stand Strong In College,” writes that first-time and returning college students should pack five skills that will ensure success in college – and later in life.
- Discipline: “This cannot be emphasized enough – in both college and in life, you must supervise yourself,” McFarland writes for Fox. “There comes a time when you have to take ownership of certain things in life: Such as being responsible to get up on time, arriving punctually for commitments (like class), and meeting deadlines. Keep a ‘to do’ list on a legal pad, write yourself Post-its or put alarms in your phone. Whatever it takes, become a disciplined, ‘get it done right’ type of person.”
- Decision Making: “It has been said that good leaders don’t make good decisions, good leaders make hard decisions,” McFarland says. “Every college student should see themselves as a leader – at the very least, a leader in terms of their own personal development and future. The student should carefully, and prayerfully, make decisions about class load, desired major, time management, relationships and activities outside of class. Life is about knowing where to invest and what to jettison. College is a training ground to hone this ability.”
- Discernment: McFarland remembers that a wise professor once told him: “Show me who your friends are and I will tell you who you’ll be in 10 years.” “So many promising young futures have been lost on the university campus,” McFarland writes. “The pursuit of higher education – though valuable – also comes with risk. Most campuses and ‘college towns’ can be a wonderland of opportunities to wreck one’s life. Far too many universities can also be places where critical thinking skills and one’s worldview may get deeply warped."
- Direction: “Success at college depends on a clear and realistic vision for oneself,” McFarland says. “Repeated changes of major and even too many ‘drop/adds’ of classes get expensive. I encourage parents to make their child help pay their own tuition. Let the student have some financial skin in the game, and watch their responsibility level increase!”
- Dedication: McFarland says many students may feel like “throwing in the towel” at some during college and in launching their careers, but he encourages students to remember a line from the film, “Apollo 13:” “Failure is not an option.”