Throughout my time at Jamestown Community College, I have continuously heard about student responsibility. I remember being taught about it back in Student Success Seminar my first year of college, I hear about it in various meetings I attend on campus, and I find myself teaching it to my students. What’s the big deal, though? Why is there so much focus on student responsibility? We say student responsibility, but how much freedom do our students really have? Are we all just wasting our breath?
Not at all.
Student responsibility has everything to do with freedom and happiness.
My favorite quote to tell new students is, “College is what you make of it.” Each one of us has been blessed with the prevailing power of free will. No matter where we are in our lives, we have the choice to do what we want. Other people can influence us. People may provide advice, offer bribery, promise rewards, and even threaten punishment, but ultimately we all have the freedom of choice. We can choose to follow what others say, we can choose something out of fear, and we can choose to avoid deciding altogether. Even avoidance is a choice.
As a student I never really thought that I had much freedom. Coming to JCC, I knew that I had to work hard to succeed. I had a lot of family and community members supporting me and I knew I had to make them proud. Professors and coaches told me their expectations and that was what I had to do. I spent my time in class, in Main Street studying, in the gym for practices and extra workouts. I did what I had to do in order to succeed. Looking back now, I realize I didn’t have to do any of that. I chose my priorities. I chose what I wanted to spend my time doing. No one was forcing me. Even though I felt outside influence, no one else was making my decisions but me.
So the question I have for you today is what do you want in life? Where do you see yourself? You have complete responsibility for yourself. Decide what you truly desire and go for it. Set your goals, and then make decisions to achieve them. Do not blame your past. Do not make excuses for your behaviors. Just do. Live your life and do what makes you happy. Do what gets you one step closer to your dreams, desires, and destiny. No matter where you are in life, you are there for a reason. You have been led to where you are to do something for yourself.
What you do matters and what you do is your choice. Your future lies within the decisions you make each and every second of every day. So choose wisely, take responsibility for your life, and be successful for yourself. Your definition of success most likely looks completely different from my definition of success, but that’s what makes this life so special. We are each unique individuals destined for greatness, greatness we individually determine for ourselves. So work hard, find your support system to get you where you want to be, and ultimately, CHOOSE TO SUCCEED.
It’s your life. Go where you want to go and do what makes you happy. Don’t be afraid of failure. Don’t be afraid of success. Choose what you want and do it.