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College Advice I Wish I’d Taken
OCT. 17, 2017 | The New York Times | by Susan Shapiro.

* A’S ARE COOL AND COME WITH PERKS. As a student, I saw myself as anti-establishment, and I hated tests; I barely maintained a B average. I thought only nerds spent weekends in the library studying. .... I was retroactively envious to learn that a 3.5 G.P.A. or higher at many schools qualifies you for free trips, scholarships, grants, awards, private parties and top internships... Students certainly don’t need to strive obsessively for perfection, but I should have prioritized grades, not guys.

* SHOW UP AND SPEAK UP If a class was boring or it snowed, I’d skip. My rationale was that nobody in the 300-person lecture hall would notice and I could get notes later.... as a teacher, I see that the students who come weekly, sit in front, and ask and answer questions get higher grades and frankly, preferential treatment. ..... participating can actually lead to payoffs. I reward those who try harder with recommendations, references, professional contacts and encouragement.

* CLASS CONNECTIONS CAN LAUNCH YOUR CAREER As an undergrad, I rarely visited my professors during office hours....In graduate school, on the other hand, I went to the readings of a professor I admired. Eventually, I’d go to his office just to vent. Once, after I complained about a dead-end job, he recommended me for a position at The New Yorker, jump-starting my career.
But it’s not just your professors who will help your life trajectory. Several classmates of mine from graduate school wound up working as editors at other publications, and they have since hired me for freelance work. Years later, I’ve helped students and colleagues where I teach, at the New School and New York University, land jobs, get published and meet with editors and agents.

* PROFESSORS ARE PEOPLE, TOO As a teacher, I’ve kept all the letters, cards and poems of gratitude I’ve been sent. It’s nice to be appreciated, and it makes a lasting impression. After one of my intro sessions, a freshman from Idaho blurted out: “Awesome class! It’s like you stuck my fingers in a light socket.” I laughed and invited her to speed walk with me around the local park — an activity I take part in nightly as a sort of active office hours — and we workshopped ideas that led to her first book. And when a student confided she was dying to take another class with me but had lost her financial aid, I let her audit. In retrospect, I should have been more open with the instructors I admired.

* FIND YOUR PROFESSORS ON SOCIAL MEDIA I answer all emails, and while I may not accept all friend requests, I respond to students who follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. More important, social media is where I post about panels, job openings and freelance work.
advice  Colleges_&_Universities  lessons_learned  playing_in_traffic  reflections  success  regrets  GPA  perks  students  professors  nerds 
october 2017 by jerryking
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