Category Archives: Counseling and Advice

Persistence, Paying Off.

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It takes persistence to complete a college degree; Sharon Nava can attest to this fact more than most. A published poet in addition to a returning student, Sharon has a story (below) that mirrors many others here at Parkland’s Adult Re-entry Center.  She is on course to complete a degree in May 2016, a date that corresponds with another milestone date in her life.

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I first came to Parkland in 1990 after the company I worked for shut down. The Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) folks came in and gave us a choice: They could help find us another job or send us to school to retrain for a new one. I’ve always loved learning, so I scanned the Parkland catalog and found a program that they would agree to send me to. I graduated with my certificate as a Pharmacy Technician in 1991, on the 25th anniversary of my high school graduation!

I continued to take classes off and on, but I had to stop when my husband became terminally ill. By now, I had retired, and I spent many hours praying for help in determining where I needed my life to go. One morning, I received a message that I needed to pursue what makes me happy, and since then I’ve been back here at Parkland taking classes.

I plan to attend my graduation, earning my associate’s degree in General Studies in May 2016—the 50th anniversary of my high school graduation!

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You’re never too old to improve yourself; you just have to stick with it. The Adult Re-entry Center can help you write the next chapter of your life’s story, just as we’re helping Sharon.  Call or e-mail me to discuss your options: Call 217/351-2462 or email me at finishyourdegree@parkland.edu. You can also stop by Room U233 to set up a visit.

7 Ways to TANK Your Grades While There’s Time

Okay, so you’ve checked your midterm grades on my.parkland and you’re doing  fine: No “underwater grades” (below C level), you’ve made a good impression on your teachers, and you just might succeed!

Don’t worry, though; there are still LOTS of ways you can take all that hard work and money and flush it away! Here are just seven!

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Flushing away your good grades is easy. Photo by Sue Jones.

1.  It’s cold and dark now in the morning…go ahead, sleep in. Sure, you know that when you went in early and looked over your notes in D120 before class, everything made more sense; but now… it’s dark! Don’t be smart and figure out what will propel you from the covers (i.e., set the thermost to go on when it’s time to get up, turn that light on, put the alarm clock across the room, get a cat, make coffee, whatever!). Just sleep your good grades away.

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“Big feet ” by Cyndy Sims Parr. Creative Commons license (521365548).

2.  Hang out with people who aren’t studying. They’re having a good time! Plus, they’re not concerned with your goals and dreams, so they won’t mind if your grades go down.

3,  Don’t just celebrate Thanksgiving Day. Celebrate Thanksgiving Week!  You have a lot to be thankful for. Surely you’ll need more than just two days off to express your thanks.  What’s a couple of days of missed assignments or quizzes, anyway?

4.  Lost your notes? Don’t even bother to look for them. Look back over the old material before you do tonight’s work; that’s what successful students do! Find somebody else who can share? Review for the final? That’s the stuff that might get you on the Dean’s List, so you’d better not!

5,  Text, sleep, and get all that social stuff done in class. You started out the year paying attention and taking good notes, but now you’ve figured out where to sit so the instructor can’t tell if you’re sleeping or on your phone (well, s/he probably can, but….) You’ll figure this stuff out later, right? Like when you’re hanging out with your friends who aren’t taking classes.

6.  Don’t bother to withdraw from classes you’re not doing well in.  After all, it is such a pain: You should meet with an advisor and financial aid to see how withdrawing will affect your academic or financial aid standing, then physically go to Admissions (second floor, Student Union) to fill out a withdrawal form. And they want you to do this by a specific date? Ugh.

7.  Give up when the going gets tough. You’ve fallen behind, and it will take more work than you want to put into it to get back up to speed. Well, no, you don’t even really know how badly you’re doing, but… ask? Face your fears? Heaven forbid you should talk to your instructor or visit D120 and ask for some help; asking for help is a definite sign of weakness. At least, that’s what people say when they aren’t brave enough to ask for help.

So…drop your work into the tank…

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Photo by Parkland graduate Bill Gibbens; used with permission.

…OR,  if you don’t think these are good ideas, come on over to the Center for Academic Success (CAS) in D120! We’ve got pep talks, reality checks, course helps, and lots of students working their way to academic success, just like you! See you there, if you dare!

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Come over to CAS for steps to success! Photo by Sue Jones.

R Factors: Instructor Tips for Online Students

Finish your online class in strong fashion by reflecting on four “R factors” your online instructors want you to remember:

Research:  Do not consider the Internet as the only research tool for your online course assignments. Most libraries, like Parkland’s, have online resources available, including live chats with real librarians during library hours! Do not rely on sites like Wikipedia or About.com unless your instructor has indicated that those are viable options for your assignment. Always ask about a site of which you are unsure.

Report Formats:  You may be required to submit your written assignments in a specific document format. Likewise, your preferred document format (.wps, .odt or .pages) may not be viewable by your instructor. So, pay attention to detail about the types of documents they are willing to accept, and if possible, send a test document to them PRIOR to the assignment due date to ensure that they can open and read your file.

Review (Tests):  Some courses may require you to do some exams via proctor, meaning that you will need to be monitored during the exam. Parkland has testing centers on campus for students in online courses who need to take a proctored test. Note: Distant students must work with the instructor to make arrangements for taking proctored exams at a different location.

Replies: Your online instructor may not reply immediately to your question or comment. Most online instructors do their best to reply to email within 24-48 hours. For grading of discussions and assignments, they may take up to a week after the due date before finalizing grades. Continue working on assignments while you await their response, and rest assured that they will respond to your request.

 

 

Your Mom Called. She Said to Wear Clean Underwear and Carry Your I.D.

Lori Sprague
Lori Sprague, Admissions Assistant

“PARKLAND ADMISSIONS, THIS IS LORI…”

Here’s something I’ve noticed for quite a while now: When students come into Admissions, the first thing we always ask before we can conduct any business is, “Do you have a photo ID?” This is the interesting part (to me, anyway): The student usually says, “It’s out in my car.

I would say this is the response we get about seven out of 10 times. (Okay, Institutional Accountability and Research doesn’t have any data on this, so let’s just say it’s based on my own observational data. Sounds pretty solid, right?) Well, maybe some days this occurs more than others. There may be some days where lots of photo IDs are showing up at the front counter, and then there are other days where most of them are locked safely out in the trunks of cars in the B, C, & M parking lots.

So, you might have to be patient with me, here, as I may slip into “Mom-mode” and let my worry-wart behavior hang out…get ready for a few “what ifs”  (I’m a big fan of bullet points, they’re awesome!):

  • What if you get hurt while on campus?
  • What if you don’t feel well and pass out?
  • What if the New Madrid fault causes a major earthquake, Parkland is the epicenter, and you fall into a crevasse?

Even though the Doe family (Jane and John) certainly are part of a respected and long line of anonymity, and they seem to be super welcoming to adding new relatives, you may want to retain your very own, unique identity.  What better way to retain your identity than to carry it with you at all times?

So whether you are a Parkland Student, or a Student of Life, my friend, I will leave you with this sage old advice:  Always wear clean underwear. Always carry your ID.

Spring 2015 Registration and Transfer Planning

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What? Registration for the Spring 2015 semester is already underway?

Believe it or not, registration for Parkland College Spring Semester 2015 began Monday at 8 a.m. Registration this week is restricted to current Parkland students, based on a schedule that was sent to all students via their Parkland email accounts about two weeks ago. Open enrollment will begin next week.

All degree-seeking students who have earned less than 30 credit hours are required to be advised before they can register for classes. Please note that earned credit hours do not include hours in which students are currently enrolled. Additionally, all students on academic probation and students in certain programs (health professions majors, for example) are also required to be advised before registering.

Advising guidelines are posted on page 6 of the Spring 2015 Class Schedule. NOW is the time to get advised, so that you can enroll early on and have the best chance for getting the classes and the kind of schedule you desire.

Transfer Planning

Planning to transfer to another college or university next fall? It is important to make sure that you are taking the proper courses to transfer to the program you wish AND to know when you should be applying. The professionals in the Counseling and Advising Center (U267) would be happy to assist with your transfer planning. Please note that the Center will be extremely busy over the next two months due to spring registration, but please be patient and get the help that you need.

Students who plan to attend Parkland in the fall 2015 semester can learn more about Parkland College and transfer to other colleges and universities by attending the upcoming free Student-Parent Information Night (SPIN) at Parkland this coming Thursday evening, October 30, from 6 p.m. until 7:45 p.m. in the new Student Union. Click here for further information and for a registration link.