Every semester, I teach a class made up mostly of first year college students who are there, for the most part, as involuntary clients: the course meets one or another requirement for them. Some are awake and alive to the life of the mind. Some have a drive for superior performance. Many simply hope to get out in 4 years with a degree that will let them get a decent job and have a life. A few are in college to satisfy parents or because it seemed like the thing to do.
Every semester, some falter and fail. Many get through, but without much joy or curiosity. A few are captured by the topic, engage fully, get fascinated, succeed, and go on to do great things.
Yet all of them have some dream, something they hope for, something that makes it worthwhile to get up in the morning. Some part of being in this class must be connected to that dream – but it’s very tough to find it.
This semester, I’m trying an experiment. I’m going to include short videos that talk about the path to success in realistic, empirically based terms (this is a sociology class!!!) in many of the classes. These can be a boost to the motivation, a reminder of the link to the dream, an encouragement to keep going when (as it always does) the going gets tough.
We had the first day of class today. I showed Richard St. John’s 8 Secrets of Success. It does me good to watch it!