Socioeconomics persists as one of the greatest challenges to academic success. The recent release of The Nation’s Report Card for grade 12 in reading and math seems to bear this out. Black and Hispanic students score 26 points lower than White students in reading and at least 30 points lower in math. Math scores are lower at city schools. Reading scores go down for students whose parents did not finish high school.
College students reading this are probably thinking, “What has this got to do with me?”
Let me ask you, were you prepared for college? How did you get here? Were you on the college track in high school? Or, were you determined to succeed? Did you have the vision to see beyond your circumstances, whatever they were?
Possibilities are what will take us beyond our limitations. The only thing that limits you is the inability to think about possibilities. You only need to look and listen to find possibility thinkers—teaching your class, in the chair next to you, in the next room in the residence hall. I have spoken with students who have succeeded despite socioeconomics, gender discrimination, family illness, or having to learn English as their second language.
Where have you seen possibilities instead of limitations? Here is where it “has to do with you.” You have the responsibility to pay your success forward. We have a great group of student tutors at the Collaborative Learning Center (CLC) on campus. We have student athletes that inspire elementary and high school students at sports clinics. The nursing program is a success incubator where students are constantly mentoring and supporting each other, with the nurturing of faculty with decades of experience.
I encourage you to take a personal assessment:
- How are your grades? If you need help, ask your professors, classmates, visit the CLC.
- Where can you eliminate a perceived limitation and replace it with a possibility?
- Where can you create an opportunity pay it forward?