Student Success Day about asking the right questions

By Lydia Hansen
Editor in Chief
Lydia.Hansen1961@mb.rctc.edu

The fall semester’s Student Success Day, held on Sept. 13, featured a multitude of sessions aimed at helping students improve their college experience.

A mix of old and new sessions were offered. Some, like the Mayo School of Health Science series, targeted a portion of the student body, while others had a more general focus and were applicable to all students regardless of major or previous college experience.

One returning session was the Chat With the President, where students had an opportunity to meet and talk to Interim President Dr. Mary Davenport about any questions or concerns they might have.

“How To Write A Fast Paper Without Really Trying” was another returning session. In this session, English instructor Mike Mutschelknaus provided tips and tricks on how to write a decent paper the night before it’s due.

Echo photo by Nathan Hoover
Students turn in bingo cards during Student Success Day on Sept. 13. More than 30 sessions were offered in addition to incentives such as drawings and a free lunch.

Many new sessions were offered as well. One featured a guest speaker, Neil Dennison from Olmsted County Victim Services. Dennison’s session “Misconceptions of College” debunked popular myths about sexual relations and college life and explained how these myths perpetrate sexual violence on college campuses as well as how students can help prevent sexual assaults by stepping in and speaking up.

Other sessions, such as the “Protecting Your Identity” session hosted by RCTC Security Coordinator Andy Hamann and Suzy Finck of the IT department, offered helpful information about how to protect one’s identity and personal information, both at home and online. As RCTC student email accounts were hit with a large phishing attack just last February, this session was particularly timely.

Simply put, Hamann and Finck’s advice to students was: Delete suspicious emails. Do not click on links or reply to emails unless the source is verifiable and legitimate. Trust your gut and ask questions if something seems fishy.

“No one should ever ask for your password or personal information over email,” Finck said. “It takes seconds to steal your identity, and it can take a lifetime to get it back. The best person to protect your information is you.”

These and other sessions were offered throughout the morning and evening on Student Success Day. But what do they all have in common? Why does RCTC set aside a day to celebrate student success?

RCTC Counselor Eric Sime answered that question in his session “Imperfection Rules: Mistakes are Inevitable, Quitting is Optional.”  With 28 years of experience as an academic adviser, Sime has found that “the first mistake isn’t what beats people.”

“When you screw up that first test or skip that first class, it’s what you choose to do with that mistake that determines whether you’ll be a successful student or not,” Sime said.

Student Success Day attempts to help bridge the gap between the academic and personal support systems in place on campus and those students who are or may eventually be struggling. Whether a session teaches a new study habit or provides information on how to get help from RCTC counselors and advisers, this day makes student success a priority and shows that the college is here to make that happen.

“You don’t have to know the answers,” Sime said. “You just have to have the guts to ask the questions.”

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