Three Keys to Student Development

student development

Student development in the world of higher education and campus recreation can take on various meanings. For me, student development is about your personal journey and path for success. Your student development is much like your fingerprint as it is unique to you. Defining your success and finding your “why” shapes your student development.

Let’s take a look at the three keys to student development:

Positive Attitude

It starts and stops with having a positive outlook. Albert Einstein said, “Weakness in attitude becomes a weakness in character.” It is important to be self-aware of your attitude and how it affects your actions. Avoid letting difficult times define you. Instead, focus on the little victories of each situation. Focus less on complaining, making excuses and blaming others for your shortcomings. The better strategy is to focus on the things you can control to move your cause forward. Attitude is one of the main things you can continually control.

Additionally, it is important to have an attitude that is open to learning and improvement. One way to do this is to seek out a mentor or be a mentor to someone else. Being part of a mentor-mentee relationship lends itself toward positive self-improvement and development. Mentorship is an accountability system of working together toward improvement and advancement. Maintaining a positive attitude is a vital ingredient to your student development.

Active Listening

Being an active listener is an essential trait for continued development. I recommend seeking out different sources to listen and learn from. Start with looking at guest lecturers or speakers that are scheduled to come to your university. Look at workshops, trainings and webinars sponsored by your university’s human resources department. Additionally, look into a state, region, or national workshop to possibly attend. There are quite a few different conferences offered in the field of campus recreation that can serve as valuable resources. Listening to an educational podcast can also assist in your student development. I recommend The Tim Ferriss Show, The Art of Charm and Success Talks.

Active listening opportunities can be found in a variety of sources. Although you may not agree with everything that is presented to you, it is important to take the feedback constructively. Avoid taking things personally and apply the things that work for you. Also, be mindful of your body language. Non-verbal cues are as powerful as verbal ones. Negative body language can come off as lazy, disinterested and/or disrespectful. Be a sponge and absorb the information accordingly. Listening to others is a significant step in enhancing your student development.

Taking Action

The number one habit from Stephen Covey’s book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is to be proactive. Taking action starts with having good habits. One way to develop good habits is setting goals. Establishing action steps and maintaining positive habits will lend itself toward achieving your short-term and long-term goals.

A way to determine your plan of action is to do a self-inventory of your current desires, passions and priorities. Be intentional on taking action and keep the eye on the prize. With that being said, it is easy to say you are going to do something, but you must follow through. I recommend establishing triggers, activators and/or motivations to assist with your follow through. You will build trust in yourself and the people around you by taking action toward your development.

In conclusion, combining the three keys together will be based on effort. Effort results from how much you care and how it affects others around you. As movie director Woody Allen said, “90 percent of success is showing up.” If you show up, have a positive attitude, be an active listener and take action, you will be well on your way toward enhancing your student development.

Ty Verdin
Ty Verdin is a professional staff member in the Department of Recreational Services at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. He currently serves as Coordinator of Sport Clubs. Contact him at tverdin1@gsu.edu.

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