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Revisiting Positive Thinking

Students are really stressed out this time of year. Frankly, so are faculty. November means tons of the usual deadlines, meetings, and a partial “reading break.” What a misnomer that is! Given my profession as a college professor, I am surrounded my young people, by students. And, this year if I could wish them anything it would be more positive thinking. I know that some will scoff and say, “They are so self-indulgent and have a sense of self-entitlement.” Well, that really is a small percentage in my opinion. There is a larger contingent who are really trying to figure things out—who they are in the world and what they want to do.

My wish to students is for more positive thinking. Remember that there are people who believe in you and your success. This does not mean that I am going to give you A’s. No, I do not give grades, students earn them. If you get a grade you do not like, this does not mean that I do not like you or that somehow the rubric was unfair. Instead, take a step back, inhale and exhale and own your performance. Then, think about how much research, time, and writing you put into the assignment. Go into your classes and assignments with a positive attitude. The attitude and interest in your classes can carry you a long way.

Likewise, you really should sleep on the comments and mark and avoid firing off an email. If you have concerns or questions about the assignment, you really should confer with your instructor during office hours or make an appointment. I’ve had many apologies from students face to face–once I’ve commented on an inappropriate email that was sent my way. I do not engage these emails. My usual response is something like this: This email is problematic and this conversation must take place face to face and not via email. My advice to everyone: never send an email when you’re angry, as you’ll usually regret it.

Back to positive thinking and visualizing your success. As I have previously said much of what I do is validate students. Yes, you are on the right track. Yes, that paper topic sounds promising. However, you ultimately have to do the work. Your first step is being honest and optimistic. The second step is planning. Planning your thinking, studying, and writing time. Stop reading this post and get back to work!

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