Sun, I Still Believe in You

sunEven though you’ve been hiding, even though it seems like you haven’t come around since I got my braces off in 9th grade, even though West Coast is your “favorite child”…I’m holding out hope.

Rain, rain go away…head out to the West Coast any day…like today…they’ve passed desperation.

It’s a tired metaphor…the silver lining, the sun’ll come out tomorrow, April showers-May flowers, but brain science says it’s so.

When I was a college student, an organization I was involved in had t-shirts printed with: You are what you believe yourself to be… or something like that. I thought it was the stupidest t-shirt I’d ever seen and on principle refused to wear it.

baby-duck-clip-art-992361If I believe myself to be a duck, even if I walk like a duck and quack like a duck and wear soft yellow pajamas…I am not a duck.

Obvious to you now is the fact…I can’t get that quote out of my head. It pops back again and again and I still spend a lot of time sorting out why. Why did it make me so angry? Why is it stuck to my synapses like Lolly-lolly-lolly get your adverbs here???

I didn’t know much about how the brain works then and I didn’t understand the limitations of empirical knowledge.

Our brains are sublime, mystical things. If we can convince ourselves…believe in the certainty of attaining what we want, creating what we envision…if we can remain focused on that goal or that vision…and convince ourselves  of its truth …then it will be! We will be what we believe ourselves to be! Or get a lot closer, anyway.

Before you roll your eyes and mutter about magic wands and Santa Claus…that’s just it. You’ve uncovered how belief works…you’ve discovered that belief is hard, intense, brutal work.

But…if you can do it…you will become what you believe yourself to be.

So I guess it’s a good thing I don’t really want to be a duck, though a yellow slicker and galoshes may not be a bad idea…until the sun comes back.

And I believe it will.

It’s Fun, Fun, Fun…’Cause Our Tutors Don’t Go Away

That right! Our super group is here for you all summer too! On the WHEELING campus:

shiny happy people

  • MON: bio 8-3 / math 8-2, 3-5 / eng 11-4 / cit 9-2
  • TUES: bio 8-1 / math 8-1,2:30-5 /eng 11-4
  • WED: math 8-2, 3-5 / eng 11-4 / cit 9-2
  • THURS: math 8-2, 3-5 / eng 11-4

Don’t see what you’re looking for…give the lab a call @ 304.214.8922.

That Place Made Me What I Am Today

bosom buddiesTom Hanks recently wrote an op-ed (meaning “opposite the editorial page” or “opinion editorial”…so… a personal article written by a guest, rather than a staff writer) about community colleges for The New York Times. Hanks graduated from a community college in California and to sum up his experience there he says “that place made me what I am today.”

I’ve been thinking about that. What makes you and me and Tom Hanks what we are on any given day?

My guess is every other student who attended the community college Tom Hanks attended doesn’t go around crediting it for their identities – their successes or failures. Well, maybe there are a good many who peg their failures on it. Pegging failures on something or someone else is the effortless thing to do.

I wonder about you. I wonder about every student I meet and even the colleagues I encounter year-to-year: what made you the person sitting across from me? How did you come to this place? At this time?

What is this place, where you and I are meeting, this community college going to mean to you? Me?

Hanks was a lousy student, with lousy test scores heading into community college. He dropped classes after an hour, failed classes, took classes he loved and classes he loathed, had good teachers and bad and he recalls, very specifically, things he learned in community college that he has used throughout his illustrious career. I mean think about his career…Saving Private Ryan, Philadelphia, Apollo 13, Captain Phillips, Bosom Buddies…‘nough said.

I wonder about Tom Hanks’ community college. I wonder if you and I were at that community college instead of this community college if we would be made differently today.

I wonder if places make people or people make places. In his op-ed, Hanks wrote:

President Obama hopes to make two years of free community college accessible for up to nine million Americans…because more veterans, from Iraq and Afghanistan this time, as well as another generation of mothers, single parents and workers who have been out of the job market, need lower obstacles between now and the next chapter of their lives. High school graduates without the finances for a higher education can postpone taking on big loans and maybe luck into the class that will redefine their life’s work. Many lives will be changed.

I wonder about luck and lives changing.

I don’t have to wonder about whether you and I have faced obstacles and challenges in our lives. I don’t know exactly what yours have been, but I know you’ve had them. As charmed as Tom Hanks’ life seems to be – I’m sure he’s had some too.

Whatever has brought us to this community college today – may or may not matter.

What this community college means to us, to who we become, is something we get to choose.  Today.

We could even be “bosom buddies” and I won’t need you to worry for me ’cause I’m alright. I will never say I’m a victim of circumstance. You won’t either.

via (wvncc) academic support center | WHERE SMART STUDENTS KNOW TO GO.

Learn to Love Failure

black heartDon’t look at failure as … well … failure. Lessons learned from failed efforts are often the most valuable. Recovering from failure is something that takes an inordinate amount of tact, skill, and grace.

Don’t react or make decisions based on the fear of failure or of being wrong, rejected, or emotionally uncomfortable. These very situations are the greatest opportunities for growth, learning, and improved performance.


To fail well:

  • Accept failure as a normal and healthy part of life.
  • Keep trying.
  • Set realistic expectations.
  • Talk about failure (let feelings and facts out by talking with a neutral party).
  • Deal with root causes, not symptoms.
  • Develop alternatives.
  • Imagine the worst outcome.

The “Law of Feedback” says that there is no failure, only feedback!