Entering College? Latino Professors Share Some Great Advice for 2016

Photo credit: www.unr.edu
Photo credit: www.unr.edu

 
Another school year begins and Latinos across the country are entering college in record numbers. Your first days in college will certainly produce anxiety, excitement, and lots of questions. Below are some thoughts and practical advice for freshman students from Latino/as who have “been there, done that” when it comes to education.
Own Your Voice
First of all, accept the fact that you will never fully feel like you are on top of things or have what it takes. All this means is that you’re a human being and the sooner you get over the impossibility of perfection the better you’ll perform.  Unfortunately, students of color are often doubly burdened by unrealistic fears and insecurities so don’t let these normal feelings of inadequacy stop you! Dare to speak out and stretch your comfort level.

Trust me: everyone is just as scared as you, and many of us professors of color also struggle with these feelings in different contexts at the university. The difference is that some of us dare to own our voices and refuse to be stopped by these feelings. Be one of these people.

Ensure your professors know you. Go to their office hours, ask questions, visit with them. Start your papers and assignments early and remember that the key to good writing is rewriting so be prepared to rewrite your paper as many times as necessary. Avoid incompletes like the plague. Use your writing center or any writing program offered by your institution. Everyone needs help with writing.
Finally, learn about the many opportunities to learn outside the classroom and find a social activity, club or interest group that will keep you grounded and balanced.
Arlene Davila is Professor of Anthropology, Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University.
Learn to Set the Bar High for Yourself!
I have been teaching freshmen for close to 17 years, and the majority of my students are Chicano/Latino, with many of them first generation college students. I spend the first weeks of my classes challenging my students to set the bar high for themselves, which means they have a rigorous weekly reading and writing load. I want my students to learn from the beginning that College is WORK and that they are building a new skill set as college students. Professors do not want to hear you complain and whine about the workload, something that high school students often do and get away with…..
To read full story: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/entering-college-latino-professors-share-some-great-advice-2016-n630011?cid=sm_fb

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2 thoughts on “Entering College? Latino Professors Share Some Great Advice for 2016

  1. I truly appreciate the article and advice for our Latino/a students entering college. I concur with Professor Davila’s our students in particular tend to feel doubly burdened by unrealistic fears. I know I did when I was first starting a community college as a first generation students decades ago. However, the consistent advice that our students should expect to do WORK is so critically important for them to know early on.
    I teach from time to time at my institution and I am amazed by the expectations that our students exude when they first arrive in class. They tend to be taken aback by the mere idea that no one will be treating them like children; that it is up to them to make the right decisions, such as going to class or not; doing their reading or not, etc. They, by the most part, feel overwhelmed and rightly so, especially for those first-generation students. I was too.
    The best advice both as a first-generation, Latina woman and counselor now working on my doctorate is to my fellow Latino/a students:
    – Leave your pride (the pride that hurts you) at the door and ask for help; we all need help from time-to-time, especially when starting and getting through college;
    – Connect with professors, staff members, and other students; you are now building a new network of support;
    – Remember you are in college to learn; if you knew it all you would not be seeking to better yourself by attending college;
    – Don’t ever give up on yourself and your dreams; it’s not an option. You can take a break, but you CANNOT let your dreams die.
    – Take advantage of all resources and support services available to you as a college student; the services don’t come to students, students must seek them out; and finally,
    – Know that you are not alone; that others have been through this journey and have made it and are willing to help you…just ask.
    Thank you.

  2. I truly appreciate the article and advice for our Latino/a students entering college. I concur with Professor Davila’s statement that “our students in particular tend to feel doubly burdened by unrealistic fears.” I know I did when I was first starting a community college as a first generation student decades ago. However, the consistent advice that our students should expect to do WORK is so critically important for them to know early on.
    I teach from time-to-time at my institution and I am amazed by the expectations that our students share when they first arrive in class. They tend to be taken aback by the mere idea that no one will be treating them like children; that it is up to them to make the right decisions, such as going to class or not; doing their reading or not, etc. They, by the most part, feel overwhelmed and rightly so, especially for those first-generation students. I was too.
    The best advice both as a first-generation, Latina woman and counselor, now working on my doctorate, to my fellow Latino/a students:
    – Leave your pride (the pride that hurts you) at the door and ask for help; we all need help from time-to-time, especially when starting and getting through college;
    – Connect with professors, staff members, and other students; you are now building a new network of support;
    – Remember you are in college to learn; if you knew it all you would not be seeking to better yourself by attending college;
    – Don’t ever give up on yourself and your dreams; it’s not an option. You can take a break, but you CANNOT let your dreams die.
    – Take advantage of all resources and support services available to you as a college student; the services don’t come to students, students must seek them out; and finally,
    – Know that you are not alone; that others have been through this journey and have made it and are willing to help you…just ask.
    Thank you.

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