Keys to college students’ success often overlooked, report says – Los Angeles Times
A lot of work is done trying to ensure that students are successful at their chosen school. There are amazingly talented people in admissions offices working to determine the right fit, 3rd party services (like Aristotle Circle) who help you not just get in, but also try to make sure that you will be happy with your choice. There are first year (Freshmen) experience experts, resident assistants, hall directors, counselors, sexual health, and alcohol people. Everyone dedicated to making sure that people at the school are successful and can weather hard times.
The problem is when you make a mistake most of those people, the ones you thought were there for you, turn out to be there for the school. Most of them are professional and will try to help you to a certain extent, but if you want to find out who really supports you, try messing up. Once your mistake causes you to enter the “system,” you become defined by that mistake until and unless it is resolved and you are exonerated.
I’m a man who has made, and will continue to make, mistakes. I am a slow and hard lesson learner. That being said, every one of those mistakes has allowed me to grow and either gain or improve admirable qualities. Mistakes, if you reflect upon them adequately, lead to change, which I believe is positive.
I do believe in accountability – you have to make amends for any wrong you do and it then becomes your job to prove that the mistake does not define you. However, accountability should be tempered to make sure that the person can reflect upon what happened, understand what needs to change, and prove him/herself. It’s why it’s so important to me to help people understand the process and avoid the mistakes that come when you’re forced to defend what you know was wrong. I want to help people minimize suspensions and avoid expulsions so that they can return and show the true measure of their character. This means giving the student the tools to help the people who decide the consequences of those mistakes know who the person is that they are working with so that they can (and hopefully will) give the accountability that is necessary and nothing more.
In each of my jobs in student affairs I made sure that I was there for people when they were at their worst, that they could count on my being there, and that I stayed with them until they were back on their feet. That didn’t always work because I also had obligations to the system, and those times when I had to stay quiet and watch as someone let the system overwhelm them and make things worse were the worst moments in my career. It’s why I feel so fortunate to be with College Judicial Consultants. I don’t have any obligations to anyone other than the people who are at what is usually the worst time of their life. It takes a lot of work to look inward and if I can help people do it and do it well, then I can be the support they need to take advantage of all the amazing opportunities in college and leave knowing that they are good people who have the ability to face and overcome anything.