The Importance of Approaching Majors With a Positive Attitude
King’s College offers a multitude of majors and programs that are certainly not for the faint of heart. Many of them require persistence and dedication to reach the point of certification and graduation.
An explanation as to why these majors and programs are a perpetual hole of excruciatingly late study nights, copious coffee, and beyond comprehensible stress levels would be due to their competitive nature. The most common example would be the Physician Assistant (PA) Program.
The entire student body was recently informed via email that sixty-one students completed the PA program. What some students may not realize is that the amount of first-years who are initially accepted into the PA program is much larger than sixty-one. The PA program focuses heavily on the sciences incredibly early into the major.
The heavy load of science-focused studies right from the beginning is a tactic that is used to determine which students are prepared and dedicated enough to move further into the program.
This is a crucial step in the program. If a student cannot perform proficiently in the introductory courses, it would be difficult to perform well in the future courses that build upon all the material acquired in the previous ones. This applies not only to the PA program, but to other programs and as well, such as the physics/mechanical engineering 3-2 Program.
Despite the daunting challenge that these programs put forth, there is one specific trait that allows students to push through all obstacles that stand between them and their goal: determination.
That being said, the worst thing that first-years can do is convince themselves that their classes are “impossible” or “unbearable.” Adopting this mindset could have very real effects on your psyche, negatively affecting your schoolwork. This is a prime example of a self-fulfilling prophecy.
A self-fulfilling prophecy is defined as a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true, by the very terms of the prophecy itself, due to positive feedback between belief and behavior.
In simpler terms, one’s expectations can heavily affect the outcome of something, both directly and indirectly. For example, let’s assume somebody is getting ready to go to party, and in their head, they think that they’re going to have an excellent time at the party, and so they do.
Now, let’s assume another person is getting ready to go to the same party, and in their head, they think that they’re going to have a terrible time, and so they do.
If our expectations are positive, our behaviors will be positive, and so will the outcome. On the contrary, if our expectations are negative, we would adopt negative behaviors, and ultimately, the experience would be negative as well.
In terms of a college education, the same principle follows. If a student approaches their classes or program/major with unwavering determination, true confidence, and a yearning for success, chances are they’re going to adopt positive behaviors, such as proper study habits, and do whatever they must to achieve their goal.
If a student approaches their major with a lack of determination, fear, apprehensiveness, or apathy, they will adopt negative behaviors from their negative expectations, such as not studying properly, having terrible time management, not finishing assignments, or handing in assignments late.
It is crucial, then, to maintain an enthusiastic and eager perspective when it comes to your education.
Three first-year students were interviewed about how they are approaching their difficult classes. These students are physician’s assistant (PA) major Kevin Alvarado, neuroscience major Liah Perez and physics and mechanical engineering double major Andrew Lemheney.
All three students were asked the same three questions. I wanted to know how they felt about their major, prior to actually being able to see their schedule at summer orientation.
College is full of uncertainties, and it can be nauseating for incoming first-years to think about what their classes may be like. Will they be difficult? Will I get along with my professor? My particular interest was whether or not they were nervous, excited, or both.
Alvarado responded, “In high school, I had an affinity for the sciences. Having done well in AP Bio and AP Chem, I figured coming here and taking the general science courses would be a cake walk, or so I thought.”
He found out quickly that although AP classes are certainly a challenge in high school, college is a totally different ballgame. Students have to be much more responsible than they were in high school, and the days of spoon feeding are over.
Kevin and I agree that even if somebody was a grade A student before stepping foot on campus, it most definitely does not mean that they can sketch in their notebooks throughout their general science courses.
Perez stated that she was “prepared for a challenge,” when she entered her introductory science courses and she’s held that perspective.
Alvarado recently went to a seminar on campus that provided students with proper study habits, and is attempting to adopt a more efficient system for approaching his classes.
Since students are three weeks into class, I was eager to know if their emotions have changed after about fifteen lectures and several quizzes.
Perez, the neuroscience major, took charge of this question.
“I still feel ready,” she said. “It’s a lot of work, and it’s a huge adjustment to make, but my high school really prepared me for everything. Studying ahead is key. Staying on top of all your work is key.”
Perez knew she was soon going to tread the rough waters of her first semester of college and braced for it accordingly.
The students continued to provide riveting responses, and I wanted to know with how much certainty they believed that their educational dreams would come true.
Lemheney in particular, a physics/mechanical engineering 3-2 program student, delivered an empowering statement:
“I’ve had situations in the past where I’ve come up against really tough adversity, and tough challenges have been put in front of me,” Lemheney said. “Every time I’ve faced one of those, I’ve come out on top of it. This is no different. This is another challenge that I’m going to have to accomplish. At the end of the day, I’m going to be on top, like I usually am.”
The difficult class structures that these majors and programs utilize are meant to ensure that individuals earn their position through diligent study.
The students who finish their programs with top-notch grades will have most likely maintained a beneficial outlook throughout their entire academic journey, much like Alvarado, Perez, and Lemheney do.
Success does not come without hard work, a positive attitude, and determination. The student must be willing to take that path.
As Napoleon Hill once said: “Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.”