Su Lin Nelson
Commitment and its Impact on College In 1519 Spanish Conquistador Hernando Cortez and his men landed on the shores of the Yucatan. Before the mission Cortez rallied the troops for a pep talk and shocked them with his famous words “burn the ships”. He was so committed to his mission that he had his men burn down all of their ships so there was no going back and no going home unless it was on the enemy’s ships. In burning their ships down, their commitment levels rose to a whole new level. With this new found commitment the men conquered the Aztecs and succeeded where no one else had for six centuries.
As Hernando Cortez demonstrated, commitment is a key factor needed to succeed in the mission, whatever that may be. In college, students tend to be very committed to new courses in the early days of their studies. The early thoughts of starting college, trying something new, and making family proud often drives most people in the beginning. As time goes on people tend to “fade out” and lose sight of the big picture. As people start to lose interest in their courses, attendance slips away and course grades tend to follow suit. What motivation these students started out with that drove their commitment has somehow gotten beyond their field of vision. People who have lost this commitment tend to do lousy in their college courses and classwork. College is a great starting point in learning how to commit to one’s goals. Commitment will have a great effect on a person’s success in college.
The first step in being successful in college is showing up to class everyday on time. A study completed by Malcolm L. Van Blerkom (1996) had one hundred and forty students fill out a questionnaire about academic perseverance and self-efficacy (a person’s belief in his/her own competence). While conducting this questionnaire, Malcolm (1996) found that a student’s attendance affects their performance in the course they attended. Malcolm (1996) also found a low positive correlation with perseverance and performance. If the class is boring, if there is any dislike for the professor/class, or if for any reason the student believes that the course they are in has no relevance to their future, the likelihood that a student will start cutting class becomes more prominent as found by Galichon and Friedman in 1985 (Van Blerkom, 1996). Students who lose interest in their studies begin to be less attentive, letting valuable information go “in one ear and out the other”. A person’s assignments are also affected by this lack of attentiveness. Lost motivation and commitment in any college course could lead to absenteeism, complacency on the job site, and failure to perform any given task correctly.
Commitment as defined by Ken Fracaro (2005) is a pledge or obligation to follow a course of action beneficial to all parties concerned for a specified or non-specified time. Commitment plays a key role in college. When a person commits to an action they obligate themselves to follow through with that action. Unless a person has good achievable goals, along with motivation and support, they may stray away from their commitment. The farther a person strays the harder it will be to get back on track. When a student starts to feel a little “burned out” they can still come back from it by learning the following six easy tips to stay motivated: “Identify your dreams and goals, set realistic goals, manage your time, identify barriers, look for the rewards, and find like-minded people” (Nowlan, 2007). 1. Identify your dreams and goals. Goals have to be planned out and the path has to be set in a direction that is easy to follow while keeping the big picture in sight. A person who does not know what they want out of their career would have a hard time getting motivated to succeed. Find the dreams that are achievable and keep a tight hold on them, all the while slowly working