by Brittany Wilson (Whetstone Staff Writer)
If you want to stay at Wesley College, some students and professors say, you need to balance your academic and extra-curricular life and realize that academics come first.
If you don’t do these things, statistics show you’re going to drop out.
Of the more than 70 percent who go to college, only half graduate, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Wesley College’s 31 percent overall graduation rate and 46 percent retention rate in 2012 seem to coincide with these statistics.
Many factors contribute to these percentages, including lack of time management and misplaced priorities, said Alyssa Lokai, a psychology major.
“People don’t use their time wisely,” she said. “Everyone makes time for partying, drinking and spending time with friends, but slack off when it comes to getting their course work done.”
Most professors and students say time management seems to be the common culprit among students.
For Lokai, the beginning of the new school year is the time for resolutions, not New Year’s Eve.
“I made a promise to myself that this semester I will do my work as it is assigned,” she said. “Last year I procrastinated way too much. I know my grades could have been a lot better, and I would have been a lot less stressed out if I hadn’t waited to do assignments until the morning they were due.”
Sophomore Morgan Jewell said that finding the balance between academics and her job was difficult at first.
“I had to prioritize,” she said. “Get my work schedule set, get my homework done as soon as possible and set time aside specifically just to study. Then I knew I had everything finished and could avoid the stress of trying to do things last minute.”
Dr. Lori Azzara, one of two news psychology professors, affirmed that balancing one’s priorities is important.
“Many students have classes and jobs and are also expected to do homework,” she said. “For every one class, there is an average of three hours’ worth of homework. No one can do it all, so ultimately something is given up, whether it is sleep, study time, or a social life.”
Wesley College junior Ann Louty sees this predicament like a triangle, each point representing a key aspect of a college student’s experience: good grades, a social life, and sleep.
“The problem is you can’t have all three,” she said. “You can only choose two.”
So which are most important?
“Your main goal while you are here at Wesley should be school,” said junior JaiRonna Boskett. “You’re dishing out all this money for an education—I didn’t come here to socialize, I came here to get a degree.”
But concentrating on your degree also brings you friends, she said.
“The more focused you are on academics, the more you meet and become friends with others who are also focused on academics.”
Sophomore Kenny Ciccoli said you need to know what your ultimate goal is.
“You care about what you choose to care about,” he said. “Prioritize. Balancing is easy when you know what your aspirations are. Work for what you want.”
Louty gave similar advice.
“Stay on top of your grades and be involved on campus,” she said. “Spend time in the library and if you need help, go to the ARC for assistance; there are tutors there from all different majors to help you.
Get involved, too, she said.
“Join what you want to be a part of—just don’t be too involved and lose focus on your work,” she said. “It’s all about time management, making time for both what you need to do and what you want to do.”
Azzara advises students to read their syllabi. Ask questions. Go to class. Get your money’s worth. Be an active participant on campus and in the classroom.
Faculty are a severely underrated resource and are very often willing to have conversations outside of the classroom with their students, she said. Seek them out, utilize office hours and keep an open mind.