The pithy, opinionated, and sometimes brutally frank Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke challenges average guys to live a life less ordinary and embrace classic style in the broadest sense. it's time to rise above the trite, the boring, the predictable, the mundane, the banal, and the commonplace. It's time to stop behaving like barnyard animals at the trough and leave behind the perpetually sloppy man-child aesthetic of the last two decades or so. It's time to learn once again how to present and conduct yourself like an adult with some grooming, finesse, and sophistication. And here is where you can learn how.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How to Earn Reasonable Grades in Your College and University Courses. . .

At least this professor has his shirt tucked in and wears a belt.  Some of the 30 to 60-something male professors at my small university look as bad as the students!

The following is a reprise of an earlier post from a year or two ago here at The Average Guy's Guide to Classic Style, but it seems like a good idea to revisit it in view of yesterday's post of dressing and behaving better on college and university campuses.  Here we go.

How do you succeed in my courses?  Easy.  Here’s how:

1)     Buy the required textbook(s) ASAP and bring it/them to every class.  Don’t show up without it.  Don’t wait three or four weeks to visit the bookstore or order the book(s) online.  Don’t depend on your buddy, teammate, or roommate to borrow his or her copy outside of class.  Buy it now!

2)     Come to class with writing materials (paper, pens, or pencils) for every class period.  You aren’t six, and this ain’t grade school.

3)     Do the assigned reading, exercises, and papers when they are assigned.  Turn the latter in on the days they are due.  And do not e-mail your work to me unless I request it.  It’s not my responsibility to supply you with paper, ink, and staples or try to open a corrupted file you’ve sent me.   And the old excuse “I e-mailed it to you, didn’t you get it?” is just that.  An excuse.  A very poor one.

4)     Attend classes routinely and listen attentively.  Surprise!  That means you put the laptops and I-phones away, unless they are part of the course design, stop doodling in class, stop trying to see the clock from wherever you are sitting, and look at me or whoever else might be speaking at the front of the room or lecture hall!  Finally, leave your ego and attitude somewhere else.  It does not matter to me that you might have gotten A’s in your high school courses with little or no effort.  College is a different ball game altogether.  The material is harder, there is more of it, and more is required of you.  Get used to it.

5)     Engage with the material and planned class activities for the day.  Show some initiative.  Don’t sit there like a bump on a log.  Ask questions and seek further clarification if you are confused or don't understand something.  Maybe attend my office hours once in a while?

6)     When you get a paper and a grading rubric back, don’t just grumble or whine about that low B or C grade.  Look at my comments and suggestions to you!  That is where you will learn what you might do to improve your grade the next time around.

7)     Seek out a writing tutor if and when you still have problems expressing and developing and articulating your ideas, whatever the subject matter might be, or if you still have various mechanical issues to eradicate from your writing.

8)    Turn in highly polished papers that present your ideas through interesting, well-supported, insightful discussion.  Your work should also be free of spelling, grammar, and punctuation problems.  This is college, not the first grade.

9)     Don’t have your parents e-mail or call me.  You are the one registered for the course and, presumably, doing the work.  You are also at least 18 years old, able to vote, serve in the military, behave foolishly now that you are away from home, and take responsibility for your actions when things head south.  You talk to me about your challenges.

10)  Don’t waste time, either your own, or everyone else’s.  It’s time to grow up and get serious about your future.

11)    Stop making lame excuses.  A large part of functioning as an adult involves doing what is required of you instead of bitching about it.  Make sure you do solid work and accept responsibility for your choices and behavior. 

12)  Realize and accept that not everyone earns (or deserves) an A.  A’s are awarded for exceptional work over and above the basic requirements laid out in the course syllabus.

That is, in a nutshell, how to succeed in my classes and finish with a passing grade (usually at least somewhere in the C range).  I'd stake money that these tips will help you do better in your college or university courses wherever you might attend school.  Hmmm.  I might just go through an abbreviated version of this with my own students when classes begin next Monday and Tuesday.  Now, there's an idea!

-- Heinz-Ulrich


Anonymous said...

Not sure how many university students read your blog but thanks for the advice.

Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke said...

More of them ought to though, don't you think? It's their last chance really to acquire at least a veneer of polish and sophistication.

Best Regards,

Hein-Ulrich von B.