On Wednesdays, I share my thoughts on Learning and Professional Development.
My son, a high school senior, has been fighting the budget-cut blues this week. If you live in California, you may be aware of the impact the state's budget crisis has had upon the California State University system.
Eric happens to attend a very fine charter school at California State University Fresno, where students in their junior and seniors years have access to Fresno State classes. They are permitted to take two college classes each semester, enabling many of them to accrue quite a few college credits prior to graduation. This year, however, budget cuts have resulted in drastic slashing of courses offered resulting in quite a lot of schedule wrangling for all of the students impacted. Today, well into his second week of school, Eric is still working on finalizing his schedule. College students in the CSU system are facing tuition increases, decreases in services provided (for example, shorter library hours), and amped up student fees. It's stressful on them, to say the least, and will result in many students missing out on prerequisite courses required for their degrees.
My son is only a high school student, so the impact of this is much less critical than it is on the college students involved. But I've been trying to work with him this week to see some of the positive skills he's acquired in working through this mess:
- Planning skills - Eric has had to come up with a broad variety of options and plans for the various alternatives that he could face when he walks into a college class and tries to register.
- Research skills - My high school senior is now pretty well versed on the college registration system and its ins and outs. He has handled the scheduling "mess" independently, with his counselor as an adviser. This knowledge will serve him well when he heads off to college next year on his own.
- Patience - It's a virtue, right? In today's "now" society of instant messaging and real time video alerts, it can be a difficult thing to learn to wait for things to work out properly.
- Diplomacy - Gaining entry into a class when you are wait listed frequently involves speaking with the professor and gaining his approval. The likelihood of receiving an affirmative response is greatly heightened if you address the professor courteously, yet assertively. Learning to speak with those in authority is a valuable life skill.
- Gratitude - We don't stop frequently enough in life to count our many blessings. It can be easy to fall into the trap of complaining about what we don't have rather than embracing and being truly grateful for the things that are going right in our lives.
I'm hoping that Eric comes home today bearing news that his schedule has been worked out. I'm also hoping that students everywhere who face stress and uncertainty will receive the assistance they need to continue to fruitfully pursue their educations. Finally, I'm praying for wisdom and guidance for our elected leaders, that they can come to some decisions soon that will minimize the impact of crises such as this one upon families around our state. In the mean time, Eric and will be dwelling on lessons learned and trying to beat the blues with a positive attitude.
Home-work for Today:
- If your children have headed back to school, review the syllabuses from their classes and discuss with them their learning goals for this year.
Reading Room Resources:
The Best of the Blogs from this week on the topic of Learning and Professional Development
- 5 Minute Stress Relievers - Taking a Mental Break
- Freshman 15: Coping with the First Year of College
- Back to School: Talk to Your Professor
On the Bookshelf:
The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Teens