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How to be a Strong Student

Montclair State University launches ‘Strong Student’ campaign with tips from faculty to help students succeed in college.

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Students walking on campus
Montclair State University has launched a Strong Student campaign to help students succeed in college. Photo by University Photographer Mike Peters.

Editor’s note: This story first appeared in the student newspaper, The Montclarion.

Montclair State University’s offices for faculty excellence, academic affairs, enrollment management, student development and campus life and university communications introduced the Strong Student campaign, which provides students with tips to become successful in college academia.

The tips are given in a slideshow that has been provided to Montclair State instructors and are shown weekly in class.

The weekly themes of the slideshow are as follows: Attend Class Like You Mean It, Plan Your Time, Take Care of Your Health, Do the Work (On time), Seek Academic Help, Deal with Absences Effectively, Know your Strengths and Weaknesses and Make Your Own Community.

Emily Isaacs, executive director for the Office for Faculty Excellence and professor of writing studies, explained the details of the campaign.

Emily Isaacs
Emily Isaacs, executive director of the Office for Faculty Excellence, said the idea for the program was inspired by an article on instructors being really clear with their expectations. Photo by Allen Macaraeg | The Montclarion

“Our campaign is trying to help instructors provide information to students really easily,” Isaacs said. “It’s an eight-week campaign. We have folks from across campus that are staff that are helping to promote this campaign.”

Though the campaign is new, it was inspired by an article titled, “Other People’s Children.”

“It started 30-40 years ago when I read an article by a woman named Lisa Delpit, who talked about the importance of instructors being really clear and explicit about what they expect,” Isaacs said.

Isaacs shared the purpose of the campaign, explaining that students do not need to be brilliant to be successful.

“We want to make it really clear how students can be successful and what we know from all the research and education is that a lot of what makes students successful is not being brilliant, it’s about small, simple acts and behaviors that make you successful,” Isaacs said. “[The behaviors] are about our mental health, our physical health and good skills.”

Nai Ducille, a freshman Communication and Media Studies major, shared her feelings about the campaign.

Nai Ducille
Nai Ducille, freshman Communication and Media Studies major, thinks the campaign is helpful. Photo by Allen Macaraeg | The Montclarion

“I think it’s a really good thing because you know some people struggle with their studies and stuff,” Ducille said. “So for professors to give the helping hand that could elevate them with their schooling” is a positive thing.

Jack Gemmell
Jack Gemmell, a freshman Musical Theatre major, likes the campaign. Photo by Allen Macaraeg | The Montclarion

“I think it’s great,” Gemmell said. “Being in the BFA [Musical Theatre program], it’s really intense. It’s like conservatory style training so I’m in class all day and then if I’m in a show I’m in rehearsal from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. and my last class ends at like 5 p.m. or 5:50 p.m. I hardly have time to eat, let alone do my homework.”

Gemmell suggested downloading helpful apps, such as a word of the day app.

“I downloaded a word of the day, affirmations, a quote of the day and a mindfulness app,” Gemmell said. “It has literally changed my life.”

Emma Neville, a junior Film and Television major, believes that the campaign will help get students on track, although some may choose to ignore it.

Emma Neville
Emma Neville, a junior Film and Television major, believes that the campaign could help keep students on track, if they listen to it.Photo by Allen Macaraeg | The Montclarion

“If you remind someone to do their homework on time all the time, they might not do it,” Neville said. “It depends on the person, I think it might be an extra thing to keep in the back of someone’s mind and help them.”

Story by Meagan Kane, news editor for The Montclarion.