Wednesday, March 28, 2012

99 Motivators for College Success: Prologue

2012 Perry Binder, LLC

I never dreamed of being a college professor. Does anybody? When my third grade teacher asked us about our dream job, Molly said an astronaut; Evan, an actor. Perry: “Obtain a terminal degree and lecture on legal morasses.”

Every college student wants a good laugh, I think. Humor can be found even in the most stressful situations. For example, I tell students that I can't offer legal advice. But that didn't stop "Steve" from calling me after class in a panic: “The judge gave me ten days for speeding; they’re taking me away!”

So that night, I drove to the county jail, where the innkeeper ushered me into a tiny drab room facing glass. Steve appeared on the other side, looking weary and wearing an ugly orange jumpsuit. I never practiced criminal law, so I just put my hand up to the glass and spread my fingers apart because I saw that done on TV. Steve finally smiled and put his hand up to mine. He told me what happened, but all I could do was stare at our mitts and think: “Hey, this TV hand thing really works!”

While Steve's dilemma was no laughing matter, I use that story on the first day of class to set the tone for our semester: Understanding the law is serious business and applied unequally to young college students without counsel. But we will laugh and learn a lot together.

To me, humor for the college crowd mixes audience participation with storytelling about the bizarre world around us. Consider this recent headline: Man Pleads Guilty to DUI in Motorized Recliner. Who knew the law could be so funny? But college isn’t all about laughs. At times, many students feel anxiety and intimidation, mixed with a lost feeling in class, in career direction, and in life. That’s where this book comes in.

99 Motivators™ for College Success offers my thoughts from over twenty years of college teaching. The Motivators are presented in bite-sized tips and quotes. Most are serious, some are quirky, and hopefully they are all constructive and motivational.

The book is divided into three sections:

I. Motivators for Success in Picking a Major or Career Path

II. Motivators for Success in the Classroom

III. Motivators for Success in Adjusting to College Life

Each Motivator contains space to jot down notes when a tip or quote resonates with you. At the end of each section, three “Takeaways” highlight the overarching Motivator themes, and then you are challenged to apply these concepts by writing three Personal Motivator Goals.

Three sections. Ninety nine Motivators. Nine Takeaways. Nine Personal Goals. This book will make you think hard about what you want out of your college experience and career in an easy to access format.

99 Motivators™ for College Success offers guidance on how to study for multiple choice exams, with sample questions and answers. Further, this book shows you how to write organized essays, by providing a sample essay exam question with model college and law school level responses.

99 Motivators™ for College Success is not only for people heading to college or already in college. It is also for the parents of students to better understand what’s expected of children in college, and the pressures they face from professors, peers, and family members.

99 Motivators™ for College Success is for high school teachers and guidance counselors, and anyone else who facilitates the difficult transition process from high school to college for students. Finally, this book is for new and seasoned college professors seeking a fresh perspective on teaching.

If you are looking for a textbook on the A-Z steps for college and career success, then this book is not for you. Frankly, I am skeptical of books which promise a neat roadmap or a cure-all to the pressures of college or the work world. Instead, the value of 99 Motivators™ for College Success is an opportunity for positive introspection on college and careers, with quick messages and jolts to your nervous system.

In 99 Motivators™ for College Success, I am one part professor, one part college tour guide, and one part cheerleader. Let’s get started on the path to college success, but first, my student Steve’s verdict: I referred him to a criminal defense lawyer but Steve still spent three days in jail for speeding. It would've been zero if he had an attorney at the outset, which shows that maybe nothing is funny about the law after all!

Available on Amazon (click here)

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