Friday, March 11, 2022
Dedicated students, distinguished colleagues and dear friends,
After the watershed events of the past two weeks, we continue to look for opportunities to unite and not divide, to build rather than destroy and to encourage rather than discourage. So I report to you this week about one such uniting and encouraging interaction I had yesterday; I spoke with a group of our new, incoming freshmen and their parents in a virtual “fireside chat” event.
Our incoming freshmen are our sons and daughters who have endured the pandemic and the constant uncertainty associated with it. For the past two years, they have operated in a “predictor-corrector” manner. They planned and replanned, only to replan again and again. After two years of hurry up and wait, these students will ultimately emerge triumphant. They are resilient, prepared, excited and ready to transition to college. The repercussions associated with the uncertainty of tomorrow have made them more determined, focused and, yes, hopeful. It is clear to me that these incoming students understand that despite the unbelievable atrocities in our world today, the future belongs to those with courage, perseverance and a commitment to serving others.
If there is any silver lining to the struggles this new generation has endured, it is that the hardship of new realities has reinforced the need to develop new SKAs (skills, knowledge and abilities) to reimagine new paths forward no matter what the challenge. They fully understand that a path to success in college includes the recognition that their college classes will be different from their high school classes. They understand that their professors will differ in meaningful ways from their high school teachers, that college work will be more demanding of their time, and that time management skills will be an invaluable tool to develop.
At the same time, and commensurate with this new level of rigor, a great wealth of resources is available to help them adapt to their new academic environment. These include a higher level of counseling and advising, library and information resources, writing centers, and placement functions to identify internships and co-op employment, among other resources to truly prepare them for the real world.
This new cohort fully recognizes that, ultimately, what matters most is of course their willingness to take charge of their own destiny, take responsibility for their own learning and assume an active rather than passive role in college life and beyond. It is the recognition that they are the sage on the stage and their professors serve as the guides on the side. They recognize that their professors teach them but cannot “learn” them.
My message to our faculty and staff is that they are in for a nice surprise! Our incoming cohort is prepared, eager and ready. As expected, it might indeed take some of them a while to readily value and act upon our advice even though they fully recognize us as well-meaning and sincere in our desires to help them. Patience and persistence will win the day any day.
To our incoming students I say, stay the course. Know that you will be challenged but know that there is plenty of help, guidance and support available for you to succeed. Also know that in times of jubilance or stress, you will not be alone. Simply reach out to any member of the Miner family, any of us, and we will be delighted to help when you need it or to share in the joy of your successes.
Welcome to S&T; once a Miner, always a Miner.
206 Parker Hall, 300 West 13th Street, Rolla, MO 65409-0910