Research Paper By Kelly Ann Wilson
(Communication Coach, UNITED STATES)
I love this time of year – crisper mornings and evenings, football headlines, back to school sales and new beginnings. A season of hope and harvest, celebrated before the long winter of work. For academic coaches and teachers, like me, late July ushers in the furious classroom preparation, course planning, faculty meetings and uncertainties about the new school year. I wonder, “What will my students be like? Will they be strong academically or will there be areas of challenge and weakness? Who will emerge as class leaders? Who will I work hard to draw out of their shells? Who will dive into the new challenges and who will hold back?” And those nagging fears nibble at my conscience, “Will I be good enough, educated enough, strong enough and persistent enough to positively impact each and every one of the students placed in my care? Will my influence leave them better than I found them? Will I make a difference in each life? Will I positively impact their futures?”
Each August, several thousand young adults leave home for the first time to enter college. Hopes, dreams, attitudes, values, past experiences and beliefs carefully packed into the car with their clothing and personal items. Everyone outwardly excited and readied for the new opportunities that lay ahead. As upperclassmen and women help families empty their cars and dorm rooms are set up, fear creeps in unnoticed amongst the flurry of activity. Parents and family members drive away as their young adult silently worries and wonders what happens next.
Likely first thoughts include, “I’m all alone. Hooray –finally! I’m all alone – oh no!” In many instances for the very first time, your young adults are on their own – independent with little adult guidance and oversight. Tonight, they will share a room with someone they have never met before…and the faculty members they prepare to meet tomorrow appear like the stereotypical caricatures of mysterious professors and doctors, sophisticated and unfamiliar beings with classrooms spread across a large campus. Starting tomorrow, they think, I decide how to spend my time. In fact, for many, fifteen hours of class time per week replaces the high school thirty-five hour week. Personal responsibility and self-management reign in the arena where parents and teachers once dominated.