Monday, February 5, 2018

The Path to Success: A Guide to Mastering College Advising and Organization

By Megan Jones, TSCPA Chattanooga Chapter Student Ambassador 

From my experience in college, I have found that students constantly compare themselves to others to determine the "right" path to success they should be taking. Although following this way of thinking may be extremely helpful for a few scenarios, it can be detrimental to the success of the individual student. Certain students are more successful academically and professionally than others, and it is not because one student is more knowledgeable on a specific subject than others; it is based on the ability to gauge your own strengths and weaknesses. Once you understand where you are more advanced and where you need improvement, you have the ability to cater your performance where it will be optimally beneficial to personal success. Students need to focus on themselves individually rather than copying the techniques of others. Here are my two best pieces of advice to achieve ultimate success:

1) Obtain appropriate advisement in order to efficiently and effectively schedule courses. The advisement process can oftentimes be a balancing act of time and workload. Knowledgeable collegiate advisers can be a critical element in the student’s overall success with scheduling courses. In my experience, when I have the ability to obtain course requirements for a specific major prior to advisement, the scheduling process goes much smoother. Preparing a tentative course schedule prior to meeting with an adviser is critical. Once the schedule is presented to the adviser, certain alterations can be made due to the adviser’s knowledge of the workload of each course; therefore, the student will not become overwhelmed by the work throughout the semester.

2) Get organized. Organization is the key to not only a successful academic career, but also a professional one. In college, organizing myself was the most critical way I was able to balance everything from my academic courses, my athletic career, my extracurricular activities and my professional development. Obtaining and using a planner is the true key to success. Along with a planner, preparation is also essential. Some students have the ability to walk into a classroom with luck on their side and make an A on an exam they spent exactly zero minutes studying for; however, for most of us, studying and preparing is key to the successful completion of a task. Whether it be a term paper, homework assignment, final exam or daily discussion, preparation and organization will only aid in the successful execution of the specific engagement.

All in all, there never will be a universal step-by-step guide to collegiate success. The simple truth to success is solely based on the individual. What makes Bill Gates successful is completely different than what will make me and every other student successful. The true key to success, whether it be in college, work or life, is knowing yourself. If you can recognize your own flaws and showcase your strengths, then the path success has already commenced.