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personal responsibility and accomplishing college success. Even though not everyone seeks to get college education, personal responsibility and education go together. A person must develop good morals, rules, and good time management to achieve personal goals that lead to a successful life. In addition, self-discipline, respect of oneself and others, loyalty and compassion seem to be central elements that help to foster personal and social responsibility on college campuses. The paper seeks to introduce all these elements and by doing so try to develop a preliminary plan to practice personal responsibility in my college education.
Taking personal responsibility is essential for all development and learning but it counts especially in college. There are three reasons for it: First, research has shown that college results are to a very high degree tied to the efforts that students put into their studies in particular and campus life in general. Second, irresponsible students can impair academic ethos to a culture that is non-intellectual and divisive. Third, the habits of personal and civic responsibility take shape at college and will impact the chances of students to be successful in their later professional life (see Davis & Murrell, 2003, p. 1f.). In my opinion, personal responsibility means the freedom to make choices and taking accountability for one's own actions. It requires a strong commitment to both self and college community. Personal responsibility ability and college success seems to be two sides of the same coin: Learning to walk academically by changing oneself, one's perspectives, and one's assumptions. Achieving personal responsibility at college has many facets: The ability to achieve honesty, socialize and participate in team work, the development of communicational skills, interests, morals, rules and self-respect as well as time-management and personal goal setting. This requires awareness of one's resources, strengths and weaknesses and the courage and perseverance to improve one's deficits. The paper will try to point out these various aspects and -- based on this analysis -- conclude with a preliminary plan to practice personal responsibility in college education.
Ability to achieve honesty: I think that personal responsibility in every area of life is very much related to being honest to oneself. It is of no help in one's personal development to believe everything that I think about myself or would like to believe of myself. For example, if someone is a quite lazy college student but finds comfort in the perception that there are other students that are equally lazy and still have college success he will do no good in developing responsibility for his own education. The others might be quicker learners than himself or they have simply had luck with this attitude. As Sullivan points out: "Just because [someone] believe[s] something is true doesn't mean it is" (Sullivan, 2011, p. 27). It is the exact opposite of accepting personal responsibility to make excuses or to blame other people or conditions to be responsible for what is not going well in one's own life. People have a tendency to get into habits and if they get into the habit of making excuses instead of being honest to themselves, they get into the habit of evading personal responsibility at the same time (Tracy, Taking personal responsibility, 2011, p. 2).
Accountability for one's actions: Hand in hand with honesty to oneself goes the willingness to take accountability for one's actions. Creating excuses for one's actions stands in direct contrast to accepting personal responsibility. Todd and Murrell very rightfully emphasize that colleges are "learning communities, and individuals accepted into these communities have the privileges and responsibilities of membership" (2003, p. 1). One of these responsibilities is to stand to one's failures and not blame other persons or certain conditions to have caused them. It is human that people make mistakes but they should admit to themselves that a certain action was wrong. If they see it as a learning experience they can turn a mistake into something valuable. Understanding and accepting personal deficits is the first step to better them and being active in developing personal responsibility for their actions.
Perseverance and determination: In my opinion, Sullivan very rightfully stresses that taking personal responsibility, e.g. "learning to walk requires perseverance and determination" (Sullivan, 2011, p. 27). We have to take responsibility for our life and not wait for someone else or some lucky incident to appear to fix it for us (Sullivan ibid). Personal and academic development requires an investment of time and effort by the student (see Davis and Murrell, 2003, p. 1). It takes high energy and endurance to foster personal responsibility that will eventually build a solid basis not only for college success but for success in all other areas of life.
Socializing and participating in team work: I am not sure who originated that nobody is an island but that everybody and everything is interrelated but I think it is a perception that is very right. Hersh and Schneider point out that the formation of personal and social responsibility is powerfully influenced by the character of the community culture (2005, p. 2). I rresponsible students impair the collective academic life. College outcomes are affected by students' interactions with faculty and peers and the campus environment exerts an enabling effect on them. Academic learning to a very high is an in-class process and it is therefore crucial for students to be actively engaged in the classroom (Hersh and Schneider ibid. There needs to be a "partnership" between the college and the student since colleges alone cannot "produce" student learning as pointed out by Davis and Murrell (2003, p. 2). I think that integrating oneself into the college community and participating in team work is an integral part of this partnership.
Communicational skills: The ability to intellectually communicate with faculty and peers is a very important factor in affecting satisfactory academic and developmental gains. In-class activities are the catalyst through which students get involved with academic learning and development. I think that Hersh and Schneider are very right when they stress that the formation of personal responsibility is "powerfully influenced by the character of the [college] community culture, and the community's own integrity and vitality depends, in turn, on the values actions, and contributions of its members" (2005, p. 2). It is therefore imperative for the development of personal responsibility that a student learns to develop academic communicational skills.
Morals, rules and self-respect: Hersh and Schneider point out that personal responsibility involves a moral obligation to both self and community (2003, p. 2). In my opinion, morality means a sense that other people but also oneself matters and that there are certain unwritten universal rules of how people should be treated and one of these rules is that they should be treated with unconditional respect. College success is very much with Culture College and college culture and ethos is conveyed by certain rules and direction that need to be followed as a daily routine. College rules and ethics ideally will also ideally foster and nurture responsibility towards society. I think that setting good examples by the faculty is the very best way to raise students' awareness of being a member not only of an intellectual community but also a member of society in general with rights and obligations. To take care not only of one's own well-being but also of the well-being of others and treating them with the respect that one wants to be treated himself with by others is one of these social responsibilities. I do not believe that a person has the ability to treat others respectfully, if he does not have the capacity to treat himself with respect, dignity and honesty. As pointed out above, personal responsibility is essentially taking individual accountability for one's own actions and not blaming others for not doing well in a certain area. This requires good judgment. I think that taking care of one self's individual well-being and the well-being of others, engaging in new practices, new habits, new thought patterns, e.g., taking personal responsibility, will eventually lead to a perception that one has great ideas and this, in turn, will lead to self-confidence. Morals, rules, and self-respect are therefore important factors of personal responsibility.
Time management and personal goal setting: I believe that time is an "equal opportunity resource" and time management is of the essence of successful college outcomes since there is so much to do. In my experience from school, personal goal setting is crucial to making the best out of a loaded calendar of assignments. It seems to me, that having no goals that one wants to accomplish is like driving a car without having a direction. One will derive nowhere. Personal setting is therefore crucial for college success. I think that a student should try not to get lost in too many goals but instead should have a short list and follow them at nauseam. One has to know his limitations to take control over them and one must have to make decisions how to make…[continue]
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