Provost's Question of the Month Results: March 2016

What we asked:

How do you define student success?

And the winner is...

This month’s winning entry is by Laurette Dubé. Laurette, who's studying nursing, believes that failure can be – and maybe has to be - part of success:

"Student success is becoming your full you. Even if that means failing once, twice, or sixteen times. There are 26 letters in the alphabet.... You have options even if that means Plan Z. And if that doesn't work, Roman numerals are unlimited."

Laurette DubeTo me, success is what you've become today.

Sure maybe you failed that assignment, or accidentally fell asleep during lecture last period, or even failed that midterm that was worth 35% of grade and is now in "uh-oh-zone-need-to-calculate-my-needed-percent-to-pass-mark range". Truth is, failing is success. If we never failed we never tried. Failing permits us to restart. Sure maybe that's six thousand more dollars, but you know what, it's a second chance to be better. And I know that EVERYONE wants to be better, even those we think are perfect.

Failing allows us to reflect and re-do it. Sometimes, because we've failed so much we start to believe we're failures, and that there is no hope for the future. Well, stop that. Think of it this way instead. You did plan A. Fail. Plan B. Fail. Plan C. Fail. Plan D. Fail. That's 4 fat fails. Then you look at your classmate. Plan A. Pass. Done. Smiles. Skips away with joy. The difference between you and your classmate is that you've TRIED three other plans!!! They've just done their original plan. Don't you see? You've actually acquired more skill (They're still doing awesome too, though!!!). Then you do Plan E, because plans A-D were unsuccessful. Plan E. Pass!! But here it's important to THINK how you passed Plan E, but couldn't pass the other plans. Sure maybe you found that Plan E was actually interesting and doable, so you passed. But maybe, you can think that those 4 failures, LEAD you to success. It helped you find your passion. It helped you shape who you are today. You are wonderful because of your fails, then your hard-headed attitude to succeed pushed you to this Plan E. And now you're doing amazing.

Student success is becoming your full you. Even if that means failing, once, twice, or sixteen times. There are 26 letters in the alphabet... you have options even if that means Plan Z. And if that doesn't work, Roman numerals are unlimited.

Success is you. The one reading this. You are student success because you try everyday to be better than yesterday. To complete what was procrastinated. To find new solutions to old and present problems. To stand tall after falling. And to always having the motivation to go to Plan #1,094,979,275,742,947. Life gets in the way, but you get through it. You prove that you are a success because every decision, good or not so good, shapes you positively (Yes, even the less than good decisions that may have gotten you in trouble, because you are better now, OR will be better after this bump). Keep going, and you will reach success. Even if it's Plan 9,827,497,147,53.

Getting up and conquering the doubts, fears, negative vibes, makes you successful. Makes you awesome.


What others said:

Responses to this month’s questions were creative, thoughtful, and diverse, but some key themes definitely emerged:

Student success involves balancing academics with service to others, a social life, your family, your health. Student success is about “creating new connections and experiencing new opportunities. It is about showing leadership and mentoring other students. It is about volunteering and improving the community. Student success is being able to set short and long term goals and working hard on achieving them. It is about learning from mistakes and improving. It is about encouraging others and motivating them to always to better and not give up. It is about having fun but prioritizing what’s more important” (Walaa Alchikh, Nursing). 

Community, one way or another, is a big part of student success.  Zahraa Nasser (Psychology) explained the power of community vividly:  “A student can build a community through joining a club or making friends with others. Both of these methods give a student somewhere to turn when in need of support. This is especially important, because it decreases the feeling of alienation that many students may experience. A community also has power in society. A community of students can work together to bring awareness to issues that are important to them, and begin a cycle of social change…. A student can feel empowered by a sense of belonging within a community, which will encourage her to use her voice in a unique way. When a student has built that confidence, it will carry on through the rest of her academic career, as well as in the workplace.”

Success takes grit, determination, and the drive to achieve goals when you aren’t sure you can.  Naila Rahman (Physics) told us that student success is “determined by a student's perseverance, dedication, and motivation to learn and grow.  To me, student success looks like groups of students working together to solve problems, develop projects, contribute to society and advance civilization."

Student success means taking risks and learning from them.  As Mitchell Carswell (HK) put it, “To me success as a student is expanding your horizons, trying new things, creating new connections, giving back, and helping out others along the way…. Post-secondary education…has seen the best and the worst of me. Going through this roller coaster, I am ready to get off a rounded, more prepared individual. That being said, I'll enjoy the ride a little bit longer.”

Student success is discovering what you love, and pursuing it.  Student success is "finding what YOU enjoy and excelling in it. I have always been interested in science and could never see myself doing anything else, and now that I am fully immersed, I have not only been improving my academic abilities, but have been able to…push towards my long awaited future. Doing what you love and being good at it; that is success for a university student" (Rae Quimby, Biological Sciences).  It’s “about finding out who you truly are and what you stand for” (Clarke Gallie, Odette).

And student success means overcoming real, unrelenting challenges.  Student success to me is waking up at 7 a.m. to get my two kids off to school and be at an 8:30 lecture by 9:30 (hopefully) after staying up until 2 a.m. the night before trying to grind out all these assignments. Student success is learning to cope with extreme life circumstances outside of nursing, and being able to put all of those things aside to excel in clinical and care for my patients and feel like one badass nurse. Student success is facing failure but doing everything you can to pull through, even if you get a 60% average. Student success is remaining positive and maybe not always optimistic about how you're doing in school, but keeping the drive and passion no matter what.

What we're doing:

I enjoyed reading every submission. Your thoughtful entries reflect the effort and commitment involved in pursuing a university degree. UWindsor is responding by enriching our student experience through engagement with faculty and staff, the community, and the world of learning opportunities beyond the classroom.


You can find out about some of those campus opportunities by clicking on the links below.

See you next month!