My best conversations with students in 2018

Stop and look around you; make sure you are aware of your direction before you swim.

Key takeaways:
– Multiple assignments due on the same day? that’s life, so boost your efficiency;
– Juggling with a part-time job and study? Hard, but train your efficiency;
– Why don’t I share my answer with you? You will NOT learn by ‘watching’;
Performance is proportional to happiness, so remember to date your BF/GF and be happpy;
– I don’t check attendance because I respect your choice and you are responsible for your choices!

Each semester in the university, I met different students in different classes I taught. As the semester is finishing in the southern hemisphere, I summarised the best conversations I had with my students in 2018:

#1 (Work-Life balance)
Me: (Curious) Why are you always late for this class on Friday morning (10am class)?
Student: (Embarrassed) I have a casual work as a check-in agent at the airport. The morning shift finishes at 10am.
Me: Could you manage your study?
Student: I don’t have a choice but to improve my efficiency. I need to push myself a bit.
Me: (Joking) Then do you have time to date your boy friend, since you are so busy?
Student: (Showing confidence) Yes, so far so good. I just need to balance my work and life without failing my courses in the university.
Me: (Thinking… wow, that’s awesome!) Keep going; you’ve got potential.

#2 (Answers?)
Student: Are you going to share your tutorial answers on Moodle (our online learning platform) with the class?
Me: No.
Student: (Doubting…) Why not? (Are you supposed to do so?)
Me: If I did, then you wouldn’t try it yourself.
Student: (Disappointed but reluctantly agreed) OK, it makes sense.

#3 (Multiple deadlines on the same day)
Student: (Hoping…) Could I ask for an extension to my assignment, please?
Me: (Are you going to be “sick” on the day of submission?) Why?
Student: I have another assignment due on the same day.
Me: (Showing compassion) Well son, welcome to the real world; the cruel side of the world. Reality hurts, but you still need to submit your assignment on that day (although you have other deadlines on the same day).
Student: (Disappointing…) That’s not fair.
Me: (Showing my sincere compassion) Who told you the world is fair?
All my students know that I never check their class attendance. I respect their choices because they are adults. Over the years, I found that some students used technology to help themselves in catching up study and improving their study/work efficiency while juggling with their personal lives. Others used technology to “facilitate” their private lives without fully acknowledging they still needed to study. Some students blamed their performance on professors for many reasons (that I couldn’t believe!); it’s all other people’s fault.

The reality is that those who didn’t help themselves didn’t manage to excel in their career. That’s what I’ve observed over the past 17 years working in the university.

I always tell my coaching clients that it’s my role to help them but they need to help themselves first. The first thing to do is recognising that you need help. Many people drift in their lives and career because they fail to recognise the fact that they need help. By the time they realise they are drifting in their lives and career, they are already far off shore.


Dr. C. Richard Wu @REEAConsulting.com

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