You objected to some commercials that most of you didn’t like and Creighton has pulled them. Your voices count along with those of alumni and faculty.
And now I challenge you to help Creighton, including you freshmen who are still getting the ropes of college.
What WOULD you like commercials about Creighton to say? We need to tell the University what values and experiences we want to project, not just complain about a portrait that many of us couldn’t identify with.
Maybe you should ask your RSP advisors to discuss this in class since it is such an important issue. I’ll start the ball rolling but just to get you thinking:
•I love drop-in visits from alums like one the other day from a guy who graduated in 1993. I’d only seen him once or twice since but we reconnected instantly and I teased him about several things I remembered about his student days. That wouldn’t happen at mega-state U even if he is an important journalist as he is.
•I’m honored that students trust faculty enough to talk about issues in their lives or concerns about the future, not just come to our offices for signatures on overrides.
•It’s cool to get emails of thanks because, “I got the job!” or “I start my new internship next week.” All those calls and notes on behalf of students really DO make a difference in their lives.
At CU Sunday today, my fellow Arts & Sciences faculty panelists and I talked about the individual attention we give students and the extraordinary research and academic opportunities our students enjoy. Visitors said later this isn’t something they have heard at other schools. Would this be a commercial that we would resonate to?
But think about what makes YOUR Creighton special and share your thoughts with the fine staff of Marketing and Communication and CSU. It’s time to speak up. Creighton is listening.
A year ago the Heider College of Business had billboards all over Omaha touting the R.O.I. (return on investment) of a Creighton education. National rating services agree. Cool! You will eventually reap the financial rewards of the cost of going here.
But don’t just think of R.O.I. selfishly. Follow the example of some extremely successful alumni honored at this weekend’s reunion banquet. Their Creighton “R.O.I” might better be called “Returning on Investment.”
They included a doctor in California who has provided health care to migrant workers, a Seattle lawyer who has not only been a White House fellow and U.S. Attorney but works for social justice and the poor and a Business College alum who has set up a network to help youth in Denver.
They are giving back – returning to society and other people on the investment their parents and Creighton made in them. In the videos saluting them, all spoke of the importance of Jesuit values in their lives.
We talk a lot “women and men for others” and other Jesuit values but living these mantras starts by deciding NOW that you can’t measure the success of your investment Creighton educational investment strictly in dollars and cents.
College is for discovering who you are and what you wish to be when you are 40 or 60. It’s for getting outside your comfort zone to test possible paths for the future. It’s for thinking about big ideas in your liberal arts core classes then reflecting on what they mean to you.
This fall a record number of students will go on fall break service trips. They are already “returning” something to other people on their investment in Creighton. What about you?
After four years here, will a six-figure income, a big house and a fancy car satisfy your notion of a successful life? Or will your “R.O.I” include “Returning” not just ”Return?”
At Saturday evening Mass at St. John’s, Greg Carlson S.J began his excellent homily by noting that many of his students could relate to Jesus’ suffering on the cross as they received their first grades
We laughed but the suffering Fr. Carlson alluded to is real, especially for freshmen.
Most of you who are freshmen probably got A’s in high school without much difficulty. Now you may be seeing the first C’s of your life and are waking up to the fact that almost everyone here is smart.
What can you tell your parents when they ask how things are going? What does this do to your image of yourself?
I’ll tell you a secret. I got a C on my first freshman English paper and learned a life lesson from it People do recover – especially at Creighton where we believe that the cross leads to redemption. Start working on your own academic redemption.
First, read all that red ink CAREFULLY. You ARE smart but the standards and demands here are a lot stiffer. Many of us use first assignments to communicate our expectations to students; now we judge your response. If we see significant improvement on future papers, we tend to minimize the grade damage from the first.
Take advantage of all the help that Creighton offers. Ask your professor how to do better. This always impresses us.
See assistance on papers from the Writing Center. Make a math tutor your new BFF. Seek informal help from fellow students who are doing well. I even encourage my students to submit drafts of papers for a pre-grading review. That’s probably not the norm but seek advice BEFORE you submit your next paper.
If Creighton were easy, good students like you wouldn’t have come. Remember it’s not the “cross” of that first paper that counts but how you rise to the challenge of future assignments.
Take a study break for the Arts. Yes, I said the Arts.
Research by Harvard professor Richard Light showed that the greatest predictor of success during the freshman year of college is participating in some form of arts activity – it makes little difference what type. Here’s why.
Most of your courses require intense activity from the side of the brain involving logical thinking. The other side controls creativity and emotion. So give your logical side of your brain a rest and release your creativity.
You’re under a lot of stress; singing, playing an instrument, acting, dancing or losing yourself in a painting or making a pot is a great way to relieve that stress. You’ll return to studying chemistry, accounting or philosophy refreshed.
Getting involved in the Arts also is a terrific way to meet students who share your passions. The more friends you make, the more you’ll attach to Creighton, enhancing your odds of success. My daughter, a business major, made some of her closest Creighton friends through being in a play during her first semester. In spite of spending hours rehearsing, she also made Dean’s List.
All career fields emphasize the type of teamwork that most arts endeavors demand. Arts also make you well rounded, which is important in all fields – business, medicine, nursing, teaching etc. Some of my journalism/pre-med majors have found that writing for the Creightonian helped them stand out during their medical school interviews. That’s also true of being in a choir or dance ensemble or a band.
Happily Creighton makes it easy for non-Arts majors to get involved in a wide range of artistic endeavors. Check out the many opportunities that the Fine and Performing Arts Department offers. To ALL students There is something for everyone.
Beyond FPA, audition for a choir at St. John’s or get involved in Omaha’s active indie rock scene. You’ll be happier and, ironically, probably a better student. And if you left your guitar at home, retrieve it over fall break. It might be as important to your success as your calculator!
By Dr. Eileen Wirth
OMG! You’re at Creighton and everything is different, possibly a little scary: a new place, new people, maybe a new identity. So how do you cope?
Panicked? Seek help. Ask questions, especially of your professor. Answering some questions even before you ask them is also the intention of this weekly “Online Advisor” blog.
One myth I’ve heard many times in my 20+ years of teaching journalism here is that in college you are on your own – don’t count on your teachers for help.
While that may be true at some very large universities it’s quite different at Creighton. Here, most of the professors I know are dedicated to their students. A hallmark of Jesuit education is “cura personalis,” which is Latin for “care of the person.” Lots of people at Creighton – not just faculty—work here because they love students so take advantage of this wonderful gift.
You’ve already noticed that most classes are small enough that your teachers can get to know you by name. Speed that process by dropping in during office hours if you have a question or want extra help. We can’t help you if you don’t ask.
The sooner you adjust to college, the happier everyone will be. When my brother, who is now a university dean, was a freshman he called our parents during the first week to say he just couldn’t cope with the load. Obviously he managed. By the end of the first semester, most of you, like my brother, will wonder why you felt so frightened and overwhelmed.
Welcome to Creighton. We hope this will be the greatest experience of your lives.
Happy Finals Week!
We’re almost there and all of us, faculty included, can almost taste the summer ahead but first we have to conquer the final obstacle course of the year.
Dress as grungy as you like, wig out ,then breathe a huge sigh of relief when you finish that last exam. Try these rituals to make the week more bearable:
•Wear your lucky shirt or worst pair of jeans to every final.
•Reward yourself after each test with something delightfully sinful like a chocolate sundae or anything drenched in ranch dressing.
•Read a trashy novel during study breaks. Who knows? It might help you as much as obsessing over theology or chemistry.
•Watch the dumbest TV show you can download on your smart phone.
• Study outside when your room starts to feel like a prison cell. The new hammocks look pretty cool.
When I was an undergrad, I used to take my notes from particularly hated classes to the final then dump them in the first trash can I saw after the test. I won’t say which subjects those were!
All your professors have similar memories of sitting when you do now. And we are just as eager to complete our work on exams as you are.
Good luck! Have a great summer. See you next fall when we will all be psyched up for the year to come.
Take a study break that will give you a career break.
The pressure of final projects and exams is intense heading into Dead Week but take a few minutes away from reviewing for tests to review your summer plans. Do they include an internship or volunteer work that will benefit your future career?
Many of you have such experiences lined up including summer classes that will give you an edge come fall or travel to immerse yourself in a foreign language and culture. If so, you can stop reading now.
However if you’ve got some openings in your summer calendar, visit the Career Center or your advisor to check out recently arrived opportunities in your major or prospective major. Maybe you can turn summer into a life expanding experience even if you stay in the Midwest.
Lots of employers and organizations think college classes end in June so they are still sending us requests for interns and volunteers. I had at least half a dozen such requests last week, some of them excellent.
About this time, I WELCOME knowing who’s still available as I hunt to fill such positions. It kills me to turn down good employers or volunteer programs. Even if a student just stops me on the mall or in the library, I file that information mentally and send emails when I get late requests for applicants.
So no matter how hard you are cramming to get through your history or bio final, take a break to touch base with your advisor or a professor in a field you are considering. Get on their radar so if something potentially awesome comes their way, you might get an alert to apply.
There’s nothing like such a career break to boost your morale for the dash to the finish. Good luck and don’t forget to text your mom for cookies!
A student who is doing poorly in my class came in to see if there hope of getting the B she says needs for a variety of reasons. This scenario is painfully familiar to lots of students and professors this time in the semester.
By now about 2/3 of the points in many classes are in and the odds of a dramatic turn around get slimmer every day. But still there’s SOME hope –and who can fault a student for trying?
By all means talk to your professors. Better late than never even if you’ve put off the conversation until two weeks before the final. We’ve all dealt with our share of desperate students but don’t be surprised if the odds of a happy ending aren’t great. The math just may not work out no matter what you do.
You’ll get more sympathy if you’ve consistently sought help and shown extra effort. I plan to meet with another student in the same course to review my in-class review to be sure he gets everything. He never misses a class, pays close attention and is grateful for extra assistance. We’re in this together.
Here are a few other tips for students seeking to salvage their grades as we head into the home stretch:
•DO meet with your professor but DON’T try to guilt trip him/her into giving you a higher grade because you need to keep a scholarship, get into med school etc.
•Seek advice on the best way to ace the final exam.
• Ask your professor to suggest a student who might tutor you for a modest fee. Seek aid through university tutoring centers or find a study buddy in the course, preferably one that is doing better than you are.
•Check your finals schedule and see if your professor teaches more than one section of your course. Sometimes professors with multiple sections will allow a student to take the final with another section on a lighter day or later in the week.
These are intense, crazy days for faculty and students. Above all, don’t do anything stupid like forgetting to turn in a paper or skipping a review session. The end is in sight!
It’s Four Year Plan time. Underclassmen who are transitioning to their new major advisors often come to their first meetings clutching sheets of paper laying out how they will spend their next two or three years.
These are good, up to a point. They reassure students that they can meet all requirements to graduate in four years. But the plans never pan out as indicated and that’s just fine.
Guess what? Things change including the courses your department requires and your own goals. Faculty members turn you on to new interests or you abandon a field after a shadowing experience or an internship.
Departments update their courses to reflect advances in science and technology in ways that your RSP advisor couldn’t possibly know about.
Major advisors know which courses balance each other in terms of content and time demands so they suggest packaging the mix of courses somewhat differently than your four-year plan Required courses meet at conflicting times so you juggle things a bit.
The variables are almost endless and will become even more so as we phase in the Magis core next year. But don’t worry. Things will work out. Creighton is committed to helping students graduate in four years and faculty go to extraordinary lengths to make this possible.
So bring on the four-year plans but don’t be wedded to them. You’ll miss the best of Creighton if you treat your plan as rigid road map through college rather than the start of your adventure.
Also have a blessed Easter. Use our mini-break to rest up for the killer weeks to the end of the semester.
By Dr. Eileen Wirth
You came to Creighton thinking you would be pre-med or something else but now you’re having second thoughts like a couple of students I met with last week.
Good for you! It takes courage to re-think a cherished plan and now is the perfect time to do it, especially if you are a freshman or a sophomore. As you start to plan your fall classes, ask your advisor to help you assess your prospects for success on your current path. If you think you should change it, here are some good steps to take.
•Think about what you enjoy doing and what careers or majors these activities suggest. Go online, check out these majors and ask friends what they are like.
• Contact a faculty member in each department you are considering to learn more. Could you see yourself enjoying computer science or history or finance? What might these majors lead to after graduation?
•Ask the EDGE to arrange a job shadowing experience. I talked to one student who changed her major based on this. She could have spent three years preparing for something she would have hated but she’s dodged that bullet. Whew!
If you’re a freshman, rejoice that Creighton requires you to focus on Core because you haven’t wasted any time or courses this year. You should end the year with at least 30 hours that meet requirements no matter what you major in or which college you choose.
Next fall, take at least one course in your possible new major, maybe two if you’re pretty confident you’ve found the right field. At worst you’ll have an elective or two; at best you’ll be happily en route to your major and declaring it during the year.
If you are torn between two fields, check out how happy friends are with their classes as well as research and internship opportunities. You might even (God forbid) sample what students say about the teachers in both departments on “Rate My Professor” to see which major you might prefer. We know you all do it anyhow!!!