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Pearls of Wisdom: Practical Advice for Seniors


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  • 1. Pearls of Wisdom:Practical Advice from Professors and Librarians forAcademic Success in College Compiled by Buffy Hamilton The Unquiet LibraryImage via Microsoft Office Clip Gallery November 2012
  • 2. CommunicationCC image via
  • 3. People using the wrong title (unfortunately professors vary tremendously in theirpreferred mode of address, but “find out what people want to be called and callthem that" is a good general life lesson). When in doubt, use “Dr.” as your defaultchoice. CC image via
  • 4. Students using text-speak in emails and not recognizing that differentmodes of speech are appropriate for different contexts, and thatprofessional email (which student/professor email is) requires moreformal discourse.CC image via
  • 5. Get a "professional" email address (no " for dealing with faculty. Treat emails to faculty like formal correspondence; be respectful and think before sending. Do visit the professor during office hours to seek for clarification or discuss ideas about assignments (to make sure you are on the right track.)CC image via
  • 6. Consider what you want your onlinepresence to look like when you meetnew friends in college:what is your digital footprint?CC image from
  • 7. Learn to negotiate and advocate for yourself - as an adult/near-adult, you need to stop letting your parents get between youand your teachers/employers/etc. Far too many professors findthemselves getting e-mail from parents explaining why [name]didnt get a good grade or do the homework! CC image from
  • 8. No one is born knowing how to do everything in college— ask for help (librarians are great for this!)Image from Microsoft Clip Art Gallery
  • 9. Ask for help/clarification if you dont have a clue what yourassignment sheet says; FOLLOW directions (this one isbecoming painful).CC image via
  • 10. Librarians and Academic SuccessCC image via
  • 11. Do not spend more than 30minutes searching forarticles—find your librarianfor help(usually theyhave an onlinechat youcan use). Image from Microsoft Clip Art Gallery
  • 12. Librarians are usually available in every discipline/subject area andinvite student contact; most have LibGuides or other pathfinders forevery subject area.Image via Microsoft Office Clip Gallery
  • 13. Know that librarians have advanced degrees in information seeking and expertise in research. UtilizeImage from Microsoft Office Clip Gallery their expertise!
  • 14. Take a moment to be considerate/see things from someone elses perspective -- requesting help is a fantastic and much- welcomed idea, but requesting hours worth of help at midnight is not. Perspective Keep in mind that your professors, librarians, etc. and Time want to help you but also have lots of other work to Management do. You need to do your own legwork in advance if at all possible, keep your requests within reason, and ask early enough that its actually possible for people to help you.CC image via
  • 15. Let librarians help you understand the differences betweenresearch databases and search engines and when it isappropriate to use each. Search Database Engine
  • 16. Colleges hire librarians solely to help students find the information they need,whether for an assignment or personal curiosity. Librarians love to help! CC image via
  • 17. Make friends with a librarian at your school your firstsemester, and youre good for the next four years!CC image via
  • 18. Ask forhelp.Do notsufferinsilence!CC image via
  • 19. Take advantage of library resources---human, print, electronic—and utilize them. Don’t be afraid to approach the reference desk in the library— you are not bothering anyone and librarians want to help. Visit the library f2f if you can and/or explore the library website if online.Image via Microsoft Office Clip Gallery
  • 20. Do not write a DONT wait Know and paper and until the last schedule then right minute before appointments before its due the library or visit during begin closes to get the librarian’s searching for help with an and/or "source" to assignment. professor’s add to it. office hours.Images via Microsoft Clip Gallery
  • 21. Try to have 2-3 ideas for research topics and librarians can help you figure out which ones have more resources and will be more researchable.CC image via
  • 22. A note for teachers in schools without a fully certified school librarian: Many freshman have little to no experience with databases/finding scholarly articles (especially in small and rural schools). Perhaps a few classes on this, with examples of school databases (if you have them, which some dont have), public library databases and college examples would be useful.CC image via
  • 23. Academics: Practical AdviceImage from Microsoft Office Clip Gallery
  • 24. Go to class--even if everyone else youknow is skipping.Image via Microsoft Clip Gallery
  • 25. Read and reread their syllabus. Look foranswers to questions in the syllabus first. CC image via
  • 26. The ability to think differently and to write well is a most important skill. Consider taking a The knowledge thatcourse in Philosophy one learns more to broaden and from his/her deepen your mistakes than thinking. successes. Coursework and Critical Thinking
  • 27. The days of reading and reporting are over. Add your own voice and perspective. A well founded and thoroughly thought out argument is the goal, not another book report.CC image via
  • 28. You need to have an informed opinion and that requires reading. It is amazing howmany political science papers I get that are just based on someones voice andperspective. "Iran shouldnt have the bomb!" OK, why? "Because I believe it is so!"Gugh.Image from Microsoft Office Clip Gallery
  • 29. Think Listen ContributeDO THESE OFTEN AND REPEAT.
  • 30. In college you should be ready toprobe an idea and not be asconcerned about the right answer.Theres rarely a single rightanswer. You are free to takeideas and connect themin a way that no onehas ever done before!
  • 31. Question, question, question--who is doing thetelling and why?CC image via
  • 32. Take your learning to the streets. Visit a museum, take a sidetrip, check out an ethnic community different than yours.Its not all in books!CC image via
  • 33. Before registering for classes, ask other studentsOther Tips for Academic who they think are the most engaging professors and then try to get into those classes. Be discriminating in shaping your education. Success Don’t let one bad grade defeat you; do not give up. Don’t rely on one method of communication with instructors/classmates. Become familiar with the course delivery platform (even when the class meets face to face, there may be an online Learning Management System).
  • 34. Dont ask how long apaper should be. If theprofessor/instructor hasexpectations, he/she willshare them. If you cananswer the question orcomplete the assignmentcogently in a five page paper,then do it.Image via Microsoft Office Clip Gallery
  • 35. CC image via
  • 36. Thank You To These Academic Librarians and Educators for Their Contributions To This Document • Andromeda Yelton • Amanda Clay Powers • R. David Lankes • Max Macias • Andrea Gillespie Stanfield • Paula Barnett-Ellis • Lynda Kellam • Kathryn Venditti • Carolyn Foote • Peter Coyl • Laura Pearle • Patricia Buermann-Post • Alison Miller • Russell Palmer • Courtney Young • Andrew Shuping • Alicia Tapia • Jeff BrackettCC image via