The Road to Success

roadsuccessWelcome to a new academic year at Western Illinois University! Last month, over 3,600 students moved into our residence halls, and on Monday, August 22, the Fall 2016 semester began for more than 10,300 students.

One of the many highlights of move-in weekend is meeting our new students and their families. The energy, the excitement, and the happy faces are contagious and set the tone for the start of our school year. It is a busy day (and weekend), full of activities and being on the go for all of us, but it is also a rewarding time as we begin the initial steps in helping our students succeed.

New Student Convocation remains a tradition during move-in day, and I thoroughly enjoy speaking to the newest members of our Leatherneck family. While this event is designed for the incoming class and their families, the advice imparted by many of our speakers bears repeating to our entire campus community.

We talked a lot about success, civility, responsibility, and expectations. It may appear to be yet another “lecture,” one that our students have probably heard countless times from their parents and family members. However, those words that we share come from a place of caring and compassion. We want each person who sets foot on our University campuses to excel in his/her studies and in life.

Because we are a close-knit University, we get to know so many of our students by name. We recognize them as they socialize and work in our communities. We see them walking to class, and doing tremendous work not only for our University, but also within our communities. We are proud of our students and excited for their future, and that is why we impart our wisdom to our new students on their first day at WIU.

To our returning students, faculty, and staff (and even our alumni), I share with you those same words I share with our new students and their families. These small bits of advice are something we all should remember as we go through the years.

1. Make wise choices and good decisions.

2. Have respect for yourself and for others.

3. Take advantage of opportunities for intellectual and personal growth.

4. Do not let yourself down.

5. Conquer your fears.

6. Do not be afraid to ask for help.

7. Strive to achieve greatness.

8. Live up to your full potential.

9. Get involved in your community.

10. Carry yourself with dignity.

To conclude my first Student Pres blog of the new academic year, I would like to share my parting words from the New Student Convocation:

“The road to success is not straight. There’s a curve called failure, loops called confusion, speed bumps called enemies, red lights called friends, and caution lights called family. You may have flats called jobs. But if you have a spare called determination, an engine called perseverance, and insurance called faith, you will make it to a place called success.” [author unknown]