Pursuit of Academic Success

( (A Personal Perspective) p )
Marolo C. Alfaro, P.Eng., Ph.D. g
Civil Engineering Professor University of Manitoba

Filipino-Canadian Students in Secondary and Post-Secondary Schools – April 19, 2008

Inspirational example . . . . .

Thomas Edison – inventor of light bulbs

‘I never perfected an invention that I did not think about in terms of the service it might give others... I find out what the world needs, then I proceed to invent....’

Learning from Thomas
• He had his goal set to develop light bulbs • Did not give up even after over thousand trials p • Had positive attitude towards failures • He was open to new ideas and easily accepted changes

Responsibilities and Expectations Planning your course Perseverance and d d determination i i Positive attitude on failures Preparation of Plan ‘B’ Parental support Professors’ guidance

Responsibilities and Expectations
Planning your course Perseverance and determination Positive attitude on failures Preparation of Plan ‘B’ Parental support Professors’ guidance

If you want to get somewhere you have to know where you want to go go.

Then a couple of things parents kept on reminding us . . . . .

Focus on what you are doing. Avoid multi-tasking. (quality vs. quantity) multi tasking.

Finish what you are doing. Avoid procrastinating. (mañana habit)

Responsibilities and Expectations
Planning your course Perseverance and determination Positive attitude on failures Preparation of Plan ‘B’ Parental support Professors’ guidance

‘If you want to get somewhere you have to know tt t h h t k where you want to go and how to get there. Then never, never never give up ’ never never, up.
Norman Vincent Peale

In your pursuit of academic success, there are only few smooth rides.

Most often you will hit many bumpy roads.

There is no giant step that does it. It is a lot of little steps. i l t f littl t

Responsibilities and Expectations
Planning your course Perseverance and determination Positive attitude on failures Preparation of Plan ‘B’ Parental support Professors’ guidance

Edison’s tests of light bulbs – Many failures!

Learn from failures. When you fail, you learn what’s not working. And you get the opportunity to try new approaches approaches.

Like Mike! ‘I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I have been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. g y And that is why I succeed.’
- Michael Jordan

Michael was unafraid to fail!

‘Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.’
- Robert F Kennedy F.

Responsibilities and Expectations
Planning your course Perseverance and d t P d determination i ti Positive attitude on failures Preparation of Plan ‘B’ a e ta support Parental suppo t Professors’ guidance

• This does not mean you are giving up your dreams. • Sometimes the door is closed in your path Sometimes, path.

A closing door . . .

could mean an open window. Unexpected changes are p g opportunities in disguise. Plan for your NEW COURSE

Responsibilities and Expectations
Planning your course Perseverance and d t P d determination i ti Positive attitude on failures Preparation of Plan ‘B’ a e ta support Parental suppo t Professors’ guidance

There’s help . . . . . when y need it p you

There’s a lending hand when you fall. There’s encouragement when you’re down and out you re out.

Parent’s effective Way of Teaching - Go Fishing!

‘Give a man a fish, he has food for the day. Teach him how to fish, he has food all the days of his life.’ (Author unknown) f f

Responsibilities and Expectations
Planning your course Perseverance and d t P d determination i ti Positive attitude on failures Preparation of Plan ‘B’ Parental support Professors’ guidance

Think f Thi k of professors as f ‘guide on the side’

Not as ‘sage on the stage’

Professors provide an environment in which students can learn to be productive, creative people especially f th early i ll for the l years of their careers.

They impart to students the basic attributes – concepts, techniques, skills, h bit and i i ht – t t h i kill habits d insights that are believed to be of lasting value and pp y applicability.’

Students are expected to pass exams Professors test the P f t t th students what they know, not what they do not know. y

Students must demonstrate they are ready to carry out their personal and professional responsibilities expected from them after graduation. t df th ft d ti

• Teaching and learning works in both ways. ‘In teaching you will learn, in learning you will teach.’ In teach.
(a line from a song of a Disney movie, TARZAN)

• Teaching and learning requires teamwork teamwork.

‘United we stand divided we fall ’ United stand, fall.

Perception on Education Your brain is NOT a receptacle of information. Information is NOT education.

Education is what remains after the information g g that has been taught is forgotten.

Prof. John Burland, a civil engineer responsible for saving the Leaning Tower of Pisa

‘The soul and spirit of education is that habit of mind which remains when students have completely f l t l forgotten everything they have ever tt thi th h been taught.’ (Burland 1987)

Dr. David Suzuki, an environmental scientist and activist who is an advocate of sustainable energy and of reversing global climate change

‘Almost all the information from my college science courses is hopelessly out-of-date, inaccurate and irrelevant. Y I still use skills I l i l Yet ill kill learned then. Th i d h That is because the emphasis was on process, not nickelknowledge facts.’ (Suzuki 1987) g ( )

In your Pursuit of Academic Success
You are expected to: • Set your goals with focused heart and mind • Persevere and don’t give up easily • Learn from your failures • Prepare for back-up plans if door is closed Expect support and guidance from: p pp g • Elders • Teachers

An Engineer’s Perspective Engineer s

E (X) = ∑ p i ⋅ P X = p i
i= 1

n

{

(

)}

Expectation = Sum of { (each of the responsibility) x ( p y) (the probability of responsibilities being done) }

A Student’s Perspective Student s

Drafted by 2008 Civil Engineering graduating students at U of Manitoba

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