Target SMART Goals for College Success

 Goal Setting targetUnderstand SMART goals to get you on target for success!

SMART goals can be used  for anything from a long-term goal of graduating with a certain GPA, to a short-term goal like the best way to make your student leadership groups next fund-raiser a shining success. Specific – Precisely describe the goal. Remember, they must know exactly where the target is in order to hit it. Measurable – Quantify your goals. This inspires people to stay on track because they can readily see how far they’ve come, and how much further they have to go. Attainable – Aim high, but not so high that the objective is unreachable. If you want to stretch your group, ask their opinion, and get their agreement. Do reserve the right for you as a team to revisit the goals and set new objectives as necessary. Realistic – Has the objective been reached before? If not, you may want to take a second look. Time limit – Have a date when your goals will be met. The old saying is that goals without a deadline are just dreams. Along with developing SMART goals, Student Leadership Teams should collaborate and use it to their advantage. Hook up with others and brainstorm “best practices” together. Working together, you are much more powerful than when working alone. Putting your heads together allows you to share common concerns and learn from the mistakes of others. Also, you can run ideas by this group before presenting them to your own team. Combining collaboration along with SMART goals will help you troubleshoot and iron out all kinds of problems you might be facing.

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College Success Speaker, Crystal Jonas- Bio Link

Hi, I’m Crystal Jonas, As a former academic advisor and assistant professor at the United States Air Force Academy, I know what it takes to make college students more successful, and enjoy school whole lot more. Ask about speaking or coaching for your students or faculty. Call me at 719- 291-0366.

What Not to do When You’ve Missed Class

Teacher in front of classI was gone last class. Did I miss anything important?

This is actually a common question which, on the surface, seems harmless enough. Aren’t you even quite responsible to follow up and ask to make sure you aren’t missing out on some crucial point in your education because you didn’t attend the last class?

Alas, dear student, in spite of your best intentions about making up for lost time in following up on any goodies missed, here’s what the professor hears, “Did you say anything I’ll be tested on?” or worse, “You don’t usually say anything important, was last Tuesday an exception?”

Sadly, either way, you don’t end up looking very good. And oh, by the way, you already missed class, so what’s up with that? I know, it cuts to the core to be misunderstood. What’s a well-meaning, conscientious student supposed to do when she misses class?

Ask for the notes of a couple of friends, and review them. As long as you have also read the material necessary for the class you missed, make an appointment to see the professor so you can make sure you have a clear understanding of what you see as the main concepts. Since you’re showing initiative, and will have great questions to ask, your professor will be much more receptive to helping you and filling in those missing pieces. Don’t expect a complete rehashing of the class, of course, but with your prep, this session could be enough to make up for the missed class.

By the way: there are only a few legitimate reasons for missing class.  If you go in for extra help after missing a class, make sure it falls within the “true emergency” category. If you’re reason doesn’t pass muster, (and sorry, an American Idol marathon doesn’t count) don’t even try to make an appointment with the prof for extra help.

You’ll just call attention to your absence even more. And who needs that?


College Success Speaker, Crystal Jonas- Bio Link

Hi, I’m Crystal Jonas,

As a former academic advisor and assistant professor at the United States Air Force Academy, I know what it takes to make college students more successful, and enjoy school whole lot more.

Ask about speaking or coaching for your students or faculty. Call me at 719- 291-0366.

Body Language – Keep an Open Mind Guys!

image used for body language of a man with arms crossedONE MOVE DOES NOT A MESSAGE MAKE (NECESSARILY)

In my early days of consulting, one of the most requested seminars I offered was about body language. Although I stressed the importance of looking at the whole person, people would still ask ” What does it mean when someone crosses her arms when she’s talking to you?” Or, “Doesn’t it mean a person is dishonest if he doesn’t look at you when he’s talking?” How much easier life would be if we could look at the way people hold their arms, or cross their legs, or use eye contact, and instantly know what they are thinking! The Big, Bad Body Language Myth is the idea that if you know the secrets behind decoding, you can look at a person and know exactly what she’s thinking. Our thoughts are far more complicated than to think we can read another person solely by one movement.

 

BIG GENDER AND CULTURE DIFFERENCES

It has been said that crossing your arms suggests closed mindedness.  Keep an open mind about this, please. I notice in the dozens of programs I present to business men and women each year that women often cross their arms because they’re cold, or more comfortable like that, or merely out of habit.  Since I ask for evaluations after every program, I can tell they weren’t tuning me out, or worse, bored! Different cultures use eye contact differently. So, if you’ve read that you must look someone in the eye or be perceived as dishonest, you may misunderstand Asian cultures who consider bold eye contact to be disrespectful, especially if you are gazing into the eyes of your elder or someone who outranks you. If the big, bad myth is that one gesture is not enough to read a person, what’s the real message that will give us insight into what another person is thinking?

CHECK OUT THE BIGGER PICTURE

Rather than look for one gesture to understand a person, notice any sudden, more involved changes.  For example, if you approach someone who has his hands in his pockets and is jiggling change, don’t assume he’s cheap. (Yes, that has been a common assumption of this single gesture.) He could simply be feeling for his car keys, wondering if he has enough for the parking meter, or just jingling out of nervous habit.

WE HAVE NON-VERBAL ACCENTS

Each of us has our own body language idiosyncrasies, influenced by our upbringing, what part of the world we were raised in, even our cultural customs or religious beliefs.  So, our body language has unique patterns, a kind of non-verbal accent, so to speak. Is it possible to tell then, if we have lost the attention or goodwill of someone with whom we’re speaking if we can’t rely on a few movements here and there? Well, yes.  If you’ve been paying attention to that person’s nonverbal cues for several minutes.  Again, you’ll want to notice any sudden, major change. Uncrossing or crossing the arms or legs can do without your concern.  However, if people suddenly change their body position, turn their head, avert their eyes, and (the kiss of death for you) heave a heavy sigh, you’ll know that you’ve lost them.

BOTTOM LINE

Your take home messages: first, make sure you’re sharing the conversation as much as possible so others don’t suddenly zone out on you. Second, keep the message in context and people will reveal much more to you than your trying to force meaning on a single isolated action.


College Success Speaker, Crystal Jonas- Bio Link

Hi, I’m Crystal Jonas,

As a former academic advisor and assistant professor at the United States Air Force Academy, I know what it takes to make college students more successful, and enjoy school whole lot more.

Ask about speaking or coaching for your students or faculty. Call me at 719- 291-0366.

How Non-Traditional Students make the Best of Their Time

image of mother, father, babyNon-traditional college students must recognize windows of opportunity to optimize time management.

Non-traditional students, in many schools, make up over 70% of the population. Whether you’re a nontraditional college student (or a traditional student) with a busy life, you need to know that you will have many windows of opportunity to squeeze in some studying in the course of a day.

Go ahead; think of all the occasions your time is out of your control. Stand in any kind of line lately?  Waited for someone else in the last 24 hours? Take control back and be ready to whip out those 3×5 cards containing your review notes and study whenever time permits.

It does not even matter if these gifts of time, as I think of them, are 5 minutes or 15. Because we remember what we studied first, and what we studied last, short study sessions can be an important part of learning what you need to learn while still having time for a life.

In order to maximize time management, college students should write down their goals and their plans for achieving those goals. This includes everything from when you plan on studying  all the way to what you want to get out of college and the reason you are getting that college degree.

As you go through the day, track your progress.  That’s right, check off what you’ve accomplished, and at the end of the day, tell yourself the truth. Did you do those things that really matter? If the answer is yes, then you can sleep well.  If the answer is no, it really doesn’t matter how ‘busy’ you were that day because you weren’t busy doing the things you say matter the most.

All too often, students are not as successful as they could be simply because they are not being true to themselves about what they accomplished that day.  So, make the best of it.  Show everyone you’ve got what it takes to be a success!


College Success Speaker, Crystal Jonas- Bio Link

Hi, I’m Crystal Jonas,

As a former academic advisor and assistant professor at the United States Air Force Academy, I know what it takes to make college students more successful, and enjoy school whole lot more.

Ask about speaking or coaching for your students or faculty. Call me at 719- 291-0366.

Is This going to be on the Test?

image of professor writing don't ask stupid questions on chalkboardYour teacher wants to think you’re there because you love to learn, don’t blow it by bringing up the question, “Is this going to be on the test?”

Double whammy if you ask when the prof is on a roll, digressing on some protracted story that lost you 10 minutes ago.  Although it seems like an intelligent question at first, it drives teachers crazy.  Why?

Teachers generally have spent copious amounts of time researching to bring you the latest and greatest information about what they teach.  Most want to pass on to you their enthusiasm for the subject so you want to learn for the sake of learning itself. In the real world, you and I know everyone can’t love every single class.  In some courses you just want to know the bottom line, “Hey, will you ask me this on a test?”

Fair enough, from the perspective on your side of the desk.  Here’s what the teacher hears when you ask that question: “Do I need to listen now, or can I zone out again, since I’m bored beyond belief, and I’m only taking this class because there was no way out of it?” While it may be the case that you are barely able to remain conscious as you listen to the professor pontificate about the topic at hand, remember, diplomacy is paramount when dealing with your teachers.

And, to improve student success it is your job to figure out what might be tested by paying close enough attention so you can tell when points are being repeated and emphasized.  Your instructor isn’t generally going to be so blatant as to say, “And this is on the test.”  If he does, consider it a gift. _________________________________________________________________

College Success Speaker, Crystal Jonas- Bio Link

Hi, I’m Crystal Jonas, As a former academic advisor and assistant professor at the United States Air Force Academy, I know what it takes for student success, and have students enjoy school whole lot more. Ask about speaking or coaching for your students or faculty. Call me at 719- 291-0366.