Students share academic goals and plans for success

Photo by Greg Gancarz |  Cashiers Bailey Pankau (L) and Charlotte Kraft (R) tend the counter at the Parkland Bookstore.

Photo by Greg Gancarz | Cashiers Bailey Pankau (L) and Charlotte Kraft (R) tend the counter at the Parkland Bookstore.

Greg Gancarz

Staff Writer

As another school year begins at Parkland, students once again prepare to meet their various academic goals in a variety of ways.

Although Parkland students come from a wide range of backgrounds and enroll in Parkland with different goals in mind, many look ahead to the fall semester with expectations of success.

For Phillip Andrew Cook, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran enrolled in his first semester in the veterinary technology program, good grades are an expectation for him, although he believes this might be too high of an expectation.

“It’d be surprising if I got straight A’s, but that would be great,” he said.

Cook is only enrolled in two classes this semester but plans to study hard and utilize all available resources to ensure his success.

“If I ever need help, I go to the professors or one of the classmates that actually knows what’s going on [and] see if they can teach me what I’m missing,” said Cook.

Overall, he says he is “100 percent” confident that he will succeed this semester. This confidence  stems partly from the support of his instructors.

“The professor is great,” Cook said. “She even gave me her cellphone number so that we could communicate back and forth, because online mixed with one day a week here to cram in as much as you can is kind of difficult. But, she’s been really cool so far.”

John Mark Smith, another first semester student, is enrolled to receive a degree in general education. Although Smith says he’d be satisfied with the bare minimum—passing the classes—he also says he wants to do better than he did in high school.

“I’m going to try and shoot for as high as I can get,” he said. “I didn’t do that great in high school so I [want] to make [college] better than that.”

For Smith, his four classes plus an early morning job ensure a full schedule.

“I have a job; UPS at 4 a.m.. so I go to that,” he said. “When I get off from there, I come here and then do homework after.”

Despite some difficulties, Smith says that his time at Parkland is going well.

“It’s been good so far,” he said. “The learning style seems a lot easier than when I was in high school. It might just be because I’m paying attention or am more focused…There’s just something about it that it’s easier to learn here.”

He says he doesn’t subscribe to any particular study habits to ensure he succeeds, but rather adapts to what’s available.

“I do the notecard thing, read a lot, do the activities that they give you,” Smith said.

Kenzie Dodds, a psychology major, plans to continue utilizing the given textbooks to achieve her goal of straight A’s in the fall semester.

“[I] read the first and last sentence of every paragraph in addition to the main terms, and make connections between the new material and the things [I] already know,” she said. “That helps me retain information.”

Dodds also has an optimistic attitude for the semester, based on a previous track record of high letter grades and a unique course schedule.

“Last semester I took 16 credit hours and got A’s in five out of six classes and I enjoyed them all,” she said. “But, this semester I’m taking 13 credit hours. All of my classes this semester are pertaining specifically to passions so I’m very confident I can get straight A’s.

Damilola Iseyemi is pursuing a less common degree in aviation and is also catering her schedule and study habits to what works most efficiently to ensure academic success. That means avoiding her own home when it comes to studying and getting homework done.

“I like to be in the library because studying at home my body’s too comfortable there, [but] when I’m at the library I’m pretty much alert and I can get things done effectively,” she said. “I also go on [the University of Illinois’] campus to study sometimes. That works for me.”

She is admittedly “on the border” when it comes to her confidence in her success in the coming semester, but says with focus she should do well.

“It’s all about focus, so as long as I concentrate on what I have to do and keep that in mind I should be pretty good. I pretty much just want to stay focused, pass all my classes, and advance on to the next courses.”

Iseyemi says this translates into things like organization, time management, and ensuring that she knows what she needs to have completed before heading into the job that she works on the side.

Students can visit the Center for Academic Success in D120 for help in staying on top of schoolwork or the Presentation Center in the C-wing for assistance with class speeches and presentations.