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Preparing for College Success

Family & Friends Matter

Preparing for College SuccessFamily & Friends Matter

After a challenging start to her first semester, Ana has made a few good friends and is feeling more like she belongs in college. She has been hanging out with people who are committed to their education and who study all the time. Ana has benefited from these regular study sessions and her grades have reflected the work that she has done. Her study group creates handwritten notes, flashcards, and elaborate mind maps that they use each time they meet.

Ana’s roommate, Jasmine, a member of the rugby team, has not been as focused on her studies and is at risk of failing a few classes, especially the one that both of them have—General Psychology. She has shared with Ana that she is afraid she will fail, which will jeopardize her athletic scholarship. In an effort to help her, Ana has invited Jasmine to meet with her study group, but because Jasmine is a student athlete, she has little time to do more than go to practice, attend classes, and travel for games. Jasmine has not attended any of the sessions.

While Ana is eating lunch with Jasmine one day, she asks Ana if she could have her notes and all the study materials Ana created with her study group, including the notes cards and elaborate mind maps that the group drew out. Jasmine has a big game over the weekend and wants to take the materials with her as she doesn’t have time to copy all of them. Jasmine is feeling desperate as she needs to make a high grade on the next test, or she will definitely fail the course. Ana is torn—she wants to help her roommate, but she also needs the materials to study herself, and she feels as if telling her “No” would not be good for their long-term relationship.

Let’s Think About It

Ana has several options. Think through the consequences of each one, and choose the best option or create your own option.

  • Ana gives her roommate the notes and materials for the weekend, and hopes that she has studied enough to do well herself.
  • Ana gives some of the materials that she knows the best (and doesn’t need to study) for the weekend, and keeps the rest for herself to study more.
  • Ana keeps the materials for herself, but offers to teach the material to her in person before she leaves and over a video conferencing service the evenings she is on the road.

Let’s Talk About It

Ana could have told Jasmine “No” and dealt with the consequences of the decision for the rest of the semester. However, as you read above, Ana did want to find a way to help her roommate. Here are some suggestions for communicating with others about the dilemma that Ana is facing:

  • “I would like to help you as I know you have struggled in this course, but because these study materials are part of my study group’s sessions and we are not finished studying, I don’t feel right giving them all to you. Is there another option that we can both feel good about?”
  • “I have invited you to study sessions before, but you have not had time because of your schedule. I have time to get you up to speed on some of the material before you leave, but if you can start to join us after you get back, you may find that it is much more effective than trying to learn the content in a short period of time.”
  • “Teaching you what I have learned so far will benefit us both–and I have time to do some of that over the next few days. Would that help you feel more comfortable when you study over the weekend?”

Whatever choice you would make in this situation, it is always best to communicate clearly your needs, your concerns, and even your uncertainties.

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