Suffer In Silence

I make no apologies for strongly encouraging students (whether from strong academic backgrounds or not) to become familiar with and utilize campus resources when needed.

While attending a well known and respected university, my grades slipped…actually the downward spiral began the first semester. I did not know who to turn to, so I kept my low academic performance to myself. I even hid my academic problems from my friends.

To provide some background, I entered college with strong national test scores and high school grades. Finances were never a concern and I did not need to work. My family was educated, close- knit and supportive. This sounds like the biography of a student who was poised for success in college. Not so. My very first semester I received a failing grade in a course for which I should have never been enrolled. I was devastated. Immediately, I felt that I was no longer smart and was not college material after all. I began to hide my shame by becoming adept in socializing. I would spend time with friends (whoever was not studying) to keep my mind off school. This was the worst thing I could have done.

Because of the lack of personal discipline, I started missing more and more classes with the promise to myself that I would start attending tomorrow. Tomorrow never came. Three years later I left the university without a degree.

I realized much later that my experience could have been very different if I had utilized resources on campus. I remembered I had been assigned a big sister who would have been happy to talk with me and provide assistance in getting me back on track. When she asked from time to time how I was doing, I was always affirming, positive and upbeat. I was ashamed to share my problem. I didn’t understand the purpose for which a big sister had been assigned to me in the first place!

I share my story so that you can remind your students to speak up promptly when they have questions or are experiencing difficulties. Encourage them to get the help they need as soon as possible. Truly, the tragedy is not in having challenges, but rather, not taking advantage of available resources to successfully address those challenges.

By the way, I am currently writing my doctoral dissertation. I have completed two degrees with honors. The difference was…maturity, for sure…and properly utilizing resources.

I invite you to visit our website www.oru.edu frequently to ensure that you as parents are acquainted with our many and varied resources. When your students call home for help or you sense they need help, encourage them to be assertive and proactive. And as parents, be armed with love, compassion, encouragement and…resources!

Sheree King, Director of Student Success and Retention