5 Tips on Succeeding at College

Ok, you definitely DON’T want to drop out or quit before you graduate. Doing so will only leave you with a debt to pay back and no degree to support a better job or give you employment options. But, there are a lot of pressures on you: family, work, relationships, parents, kids, car problems, sitter problems, and on and on and on, which definitely can make quitting seem like an option.  IT IS NOT AN OPTION (say that a couple of times). You have invested too much to quit, and you are strong enough and smart enough to make it through to the end.

Here are a few tips that have worked for me.

  1. Don’t forget to pray. It may sound simple, even cliche`, but God does give strength and help. Praying can be a casual conversation that you can have at any time.  I also highly recommend some stray moments when you find a quiet place and write out your thoughts and concerns. I have found God really uses these times to help me find a perspective which can be easily lost in all the day-to-day pressures. Trust me in this, PRAYER does make a difference.
  2. Don’t miss a class except in an emergency. I know you can potentially miss a class without it affecting your grade, but when you do you are only short-changing yourself. The information in that class session could unleash the thought that could transform your understanding of the subject or even your life. Part of the benefit of any class session isn’t just the lectures and discussions, but how God works through them to give you epiphany’s of thought that be transformative.
  3. Take notes. You may not think you need to take notes, but that would be WRONG. Taking notes helps embed the information more firmly in your brain, allowing you to have better retention for tests, but more importantly allowing your brain to have fuel for solving real-life problems outside of class. Taking notes is one of the major secrets of those who succeed.
  4. Keep in mind that “all of life can be reduced to relationships.” This is something I believe with all my heart and soul.  No matter where you are at, God will use the relationships you have with those around you to improve you, or so that you can benefit them. We are never alone in our walk, although it can seem that way sometimes. Take a risk and reach out to the other students in your classes.  Begin to connect with them and you will find the class itself more enjoyable and your ability to stay the course enhanced.
  5. Speak up. Ask a question, get clarification, share an example that agrees with or disagrees with the point the Instructor is making. Make it a point to speak up, relative to the course, at least once each class session. There are several benefits that you reap by doing this: 1) You are more engaged in the discussion and will gain a better understanding, 2) You will retain the information better because you are making it more relevant to your own life, 3) Depending on your attitude, the Instructor will begin to see you as someone who wants to learn which creates a positive impression. Be genuine, but speak up!

Hope these tips help.  We are ALL pulling for you to finish the race and get that degree.


Excel – Pivot Table 2

Using pivot tables in Excel is relatively easy and can give you a much better look at your data. In this tutorial I demonstrate how to clean a spreadsheet, how to add a column of data using an if/then formula and then how to build the pivot table showing three different views of the same column of information, each providing a different perspective on the information.  This is all arranged in an easy to read format which can be printed and shared with colleagues.

Hope you enjoy.  Please leave a “like” or a comment.

Excellence in All Things

The pendulum swing for all our actions ranges from no effort to a perfectionistic ideal which is impossible to achieve.  The medium point of the pendulum swing is “good enough.” Jim Collins wrote in his book “Good to Great” that “good is the enemy of great.” His point is that when we achieve good, most think that is “good enough.” I want to suggest there is a place beyond good that I’ve called Excellent.

For more on this check out the short video below:

5 Ways Smart People Sabotage Their Success

First of all, if you are smart, you probably won’t even read this far, and if you do you almost certainly won’t click on the link to read the full article. THAT WOULD BE A MISTAKE!!! The smarter you are the more you should take the time to read this article . . . and PAY ATTENTION.

This comes from the Harvard Business Review, originally posted Nov. 15, 2018.

Mark was always one of the smartest kids in his class. He’s done well in his career, but when he checks Facebook, he sees people he outperformed at school who have now achieved more. Likewise, there are colleagues at his firm who have leapfrogged him. Sometimes he wonders, “What am I doing wrong?”


Social Media

If you do not have and use a social media outlet, such as Twitter or LinkedIn, for personal and professional purposes you are missing a huge opportunity to share your experience and knowledge as well as draw upon the experience and knowledge of others. Having such an outlet and using it increases your credibility and benefits a larger audience. Benefiting the larger audience is a key part of social media.

For more on this check out the short video below:

Images for Presentations

Inserting images into your presentations for class can definitely take your presentation up a notch. In fact, there are many who say that using images instead of words has a better effect on retention and communication. I suppose part of that is because if you are showing words on the screen and also trying to talk the audience is trying to read the words and listen at the same time, which lessens the impact of both.

I do use some bullets in my presentations with a minimum number of words – always keeping the font at 28pts or larger, or even a quote from time to time. For the past few years, I have attempted to use images instead of text.  But, the big question then becomes where do you find copyright and royalty free images that are unique AND communicate the text they are replacing.

I have two sources for you. The first is described in the article at this LINK. It is a new site with access to over 300 million images.  The second is Pixabay.  I’ve not had a chance to try the Creative Commons site yet, but I do love the images from Pixabay. Check these sites out if you want to add some punch to your next presentation.

Excel Tip – Pivot Table 1

Pivot tables are among the most powerful features in Excel. For years I shied away from them because I thought they must be too difficult for me to grasp and too complicated to build – WRONG! Pivot Tables are relatively easy to build and the information provided can literally save you hours and hours of work.  It is definitely a win-win situation. I hope you will watch this short video (about 6 minutes) and then think about how you can experiment with Pivot Tables yourself.