Lessons Learned on Participation from Success Coach Kelli

There are always things in life we wish we had done differently, and I want to share a story of one of those times. The importance of reflecting back on these moments isn’t to kick ourselves when we’re down, but to take away a lesson that we can learn from. I took time to reflect on one of these moments from my college career to hopefully pass on some helpful lessons for my students going into the Spring II term.

I remember my very first class of my college career, not what was learned exactly, but I remember the feeling. I walked in with an acquaintance I made at orientation and made the conscious decision to sit in the very first row of the 450 – person lecture hall. I had heard it was important to be seen and heard in such a big class, but this didn’t last long. Flash forward to my senior year and, in the few classes you could find me, I was sitting in very last row in the corner. My head was usually in my arms and, more often than I’d like to admit, I left the class within 10 minutes. My classes senior year were super easy, but eventually this carelessness affected me. I had decided I wanted to continue my education at The University at Buffalo and pursue a Masters, and we all know what that meant; recommendation letters. The first one came from my supervisor at work, but the other needed to come from a professor of mine and that’s where the problem started. I racked my brain thinking of professors I had a working relationship with in the past semester. I came up with nothing. I ended up requesting the letter from a professor in a class that I had done well in, but I was promptly turned down. I was crushed thinking this would be what would stop me from getting into graduate school. The email I got back basically read “I can’t write you a letter of recommendation because I have nothing to base it on.” This was one of those harsh lessons that came at a pivotal time in my life, but looking back I’m happy I had this experience. Whether you are in a classroom or on a computer, participation is the key to success.  Everything sort of falls in to place if you stick your neck out and do your work. Lesson Learned: always put the effort in, go to class, and share your thoughts. Participation is key!!