School, Day One: What You Need To Know

(This is what I always share with new and returning students on days like today: Day One)

Welcome back, or welcome to your first day – whichever applies to you.

Your teachers and admins are really happy to see you; you should know that.

We have 15 weeks to get to the finish line of this semester, and it’s going to be a great journey.

People often ask me, ” What’s the secret to making it through?”

It’s easy to say, not so easy to do.

1) Go to class

2) Do your assignments

3) Turn in your assignments on time

4) Ask for help

5) Be accountable

6) Keep a calendar

Numbers four,five and six are the big ones – without them one, two and three are not possible.

There are some amazing teachers in this department; working professionals who get their hands dirty in the media business every day, every week. They know the real deal about how the industry works, and they can share ideas with you that will ultimately get you closer to the front of the line when it comes time to look for work. These classes give you some of the tools to make it happen.

Starting today, create an electronic or analog calendar for yourself. Put in all of your classes and fixed schedule activities. Carve out time for homework. Make time for play. Allow time to sleep. Now you have a structure which will help you stay organized. You can’t keep a calendar in your head; it just won’t work. When you see what’s ahead each day and week, you can budget time for getting it done. These first few weeks are critical. If students start driving into the ditch in week one or two it’s far easier to get them back on the road than having things fall apart in week 12!

It’s okay to ask for help; from your teachers, support staff and the Academy Resource Center. It’s okay to not have all the answers. it’s okay to be confused. It’s okay to be upset and bewildered.

What’s not cool is failing to be accountable to yourself and asking for someone to have your back.

I love being a teacher, and (if you’re a grad student) I’ll love being YOUR teacher. It’s the thing that gets me up and out of the house every day. But grad of undergrad, I’m here and happy to sit and talk with you about anything. I’m happy to point you to resources within the department. I’m happy to listen to your stories of defeat and brilliant victory. When you’re ready to look for a job or internship, I’ll have your back, too.

School can be challenging. It can be crazy. But it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. We’ve got this. You’ve got us.

Good luck, and congratulations for making it this far. Let’s do this.


John Scott is the career services manager, online coordinator and COM 611 instructor in the School of Multimedia Communications. Find him in office 270e on the second floor of 79 New Montgomery. @johnscottsf

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