February 13, 2013
Everyone has important advice for those who are younger, but perhaps some of the best advice comes from the people who have helped others through the various stages of life: professors.
While advice from friends, siblings and parents is often relevant and helpful to navigating the troubled waters of life, professors have a wealth of knowledge that encompasses everything from success in school, the college experience, values, and relationships with God and people. These men and women have been through the life stages that each student has gone through and will go through during their lifetime.
Six OBU professors were asked what they wish their students knew. They responded with numerous answers about what the experiences they have witnessed through their students as well as what they have personally learned in their lifetimes. Their responses were then categorized and compiled into a list of the top ten things professors wish students knew.
Number Ten: OBU Professors Care
Dr. Jennifer McQuade, Assistant Professor of Music, said that the professors on campus are not just here to help students earn a degree; they also are here to touch the students’ lives.
“Your OBU professors truly love [students],” McQuade said, “We not only want to educate [students] to be scholars in [their] chosen field of study, but we want to educate [students] on practical life lessons as well. We aim to educate the whole person.”
Number Nine: Live Life to the Fullest
“Boldly go where no man has gone before,” said Dr. Bradley Jett, James E. Hurley Professor of Biology, “Live life to its fullest, take risks, see new things and visit new places. This life is not some sort of ‘dress rehearsal’. You don't get to do it over again. Don't look back on your life and regret that you never truly lived.”
Number Eight: Learn From the Past
Dr. John Farris, Harris Chair of Teacher Education, Director of Teacher Education and Associate Professor of Education, wants students to learn how to better handle the bad situations that occur throughout life.
“We can control whether an experience makes us a bitter person or a better person,” Farris said, “What matters in life is not so much what happens to us but what happens in us. Yes, we are a product of our past but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.”
Number Seven: Embrace Campus Life
“Be active and participate in campus life,” said Dr. Nicole Warehime, Assistant Professor of Sociology, “In our modern society, networks (i.e., classmates) are invaluable for success later in life. It could be ‘truly all about who you know.’ ”
Number Six: Be Open to Learning
For Dr. Charles Swadley, Associate Professor of English and Spanish and Chair of the Division of Language and Literature, embracing the ability to learn and using that skill wisely helps one to live a successful life.
“Learning your content area is important, but you should also learn how to learn,” Swadley said, “Critical thinking and the ability to solve problems will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life. Many times there's no single ‘right answer’ to life's problems, so the next best thing is to learn how to make good decisions.”
Number Five: Let God Work in Your Life
“It’s one thing for me to tell you that Jesus Christ can cancel your past, help you conquer the problems you are facing right now, and change your personality,” Farris said, “But it’s quite another matter for you to overcome inertia and actually let Him begin to do it now.”
Number Four: Enjoy the College Experience
Although the college experience can be daunting at times, McQuade wants students to remember that college is what you make it and you get out of the experience what you put into it.
“The saying, ‘these are the best years of your life’ means what you want it to mean,” McQuade said, “Make every year the best year of your life. Who knows? Your positive attitude might become infectious.”
Number Three: Students Do Not Need a “Ring By Spring”
“Boys are yucky; I have preached this lesson to my two beautiful daughters since they could walk,” Jett said, “Your future spouse should be someone you love more than life itself. To all the young men who think they are exempt from [the previous statement], if you don't love her more than you love yourself and are not willing to sacrifice everything for her then you shouldn't get married.”
Number Two: Work Hard
While college is a place that ensures an education to a student, Swadley believes that pursuing a degree is more than just completing assignments and passing tests.
“OBU can grant you a degree, but only you can give yourself an education,” Swadley said, “You do that by faithfully completing the assigned readings, doing the homework thoughtfully, and seriously engaging the ideas and content of your courses (and the people in them). You can be transformed only by being an active participant in your learning, not a passive spectator.”
And finally, Number One: Do the Work
While there are many ways for students to succeed in their education, Dr. Richard Rudebock, Robert L. and Sara Lou Cargill Associate Professor of Business, wants students to remember the basic keys for success in college.
“The three most important actions that students can take to increase their chances of success are, 1) go to class, 2) prepare for class by reading or studying beforehand, and 3) submit their assignments when they are due,” Rudebock said.
Professors have much advice for the students whom they are actively helping to succeed. They want their students to know what they have learned about life, religion, school, and relationships. Jett, who is serious about guiding his students to success, also has a bit of practical knowledge that did not exactly make the list, but it is useful for students nonetheless.
“Don't eat yellow snow,” Jett said, “I grew up in Alaska...enough said.”