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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim, Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Embodying the ‘perfect student’ spirit

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The Hawk News
Helena Sims ’25 participated in class as part of her attempt to be a better student. PHOTO: MADELINE WILLIAMS ’26/THE HAWK

I consider myself an average student. I get okay grades, I don’t participate frequently, I love to procrastinate, I tend to not pay attention in some classes, I occasionally skip for no reason and the list goes on. But I always try my hardest.

I want to be a better student, though, and change some of my bad habits.

Fortunately, Kim Allen-Stuck, Ph.D., assistant vice president of Student Success and Educational Support, said it’s never too late for a student like me to change.

“You have to reframe what you were doing before with a new urgency almost because something is now at risk,” Allen-Stuck said. “And whatever you were doing before probably wasn’t working, so now you have to approach things in a new way.”

Encouraged by Allen-Stuck, I came up with a plan for my personal “be a good student week.” I made schedules and goals for myself. I also wanted to do some smaller things to help increase my productivity and really get into character, so I listened to a current events podcast while getting ready in the morning, didn’t scroll on my phone before bed and tried to eat three balanced meals a day.

One of my goals was to participate at least once per class, so I decided to turn my phone off and put it away, take good notes and pay attention to my professors. To do all of this, I actually had to go to class consistently.

Allen-Stuck agreed preparedness and being present in class is one way to be a model student. She also said school has to be important to you.

“If you are able, and school is your number one priority, and you make decisions around school, I think that’s one way to be a model student,” Allen-Stuck said.

Participating was the hardest part of this challenge, but I participated in class whenever there was an opportunity. I even raised my hand when there was some awkward silence after a question, like how I feel an above-average student would do.

Hope Grealish ’25 also has a hard time participating in class. She said she doesn’t understand why it plays such an important role in grading when not everyone feels comfortable talking in class.

“Some people’s strong suits are elsewhere than participation,” Grealish said.

I agree, but I wanted to be strong in a way my professors noticed. I also did not procrastinate on my homework and even got a head start on some big assignments.

I took walks after class to give my brain a break. I went to a movie screening one of my professors had on campus, as well as Hawk Hill Production’s “Hawk Hill and Chill” event. I attended my weekly service and scheduled so much homework into my day that I forgot to talk to people. I even watched the men’s basketball game against Villanova to show my school spirit.

I made a lot of improvements as a student, but I still had some struggles. One night I doomscrolled on my phone before bed, which made it hard for me to wake up and be productive. Most of the time I wanted to spend doing homework, I instead spent staring at my computer.

On the third day of my challenge, I woke up ready to be a good student. I had a great first class and was productive during my break. Then, one of my professors made me cry, suggesting while looking directly at me, students who don’t participate in class are not as good as those who do, and are wasting their money. Ouch. It was really hard to be productive after that comment.

Keely Gallagher ’25, a self-proclaimed good student, usually doesn’t let negative comments from professors affect her. But when they do, she has a plan to get herself back on her feet.

“It’s taking time for myself and giving myself time to mentally rejuvenate because everyone gets burnt out,” Gallagher said. “When someone’s negative towards you, that’s going to affect the burnout even more. So why even try to work through the burnout without taking time for self care?”

At the end of my week, I realized that professors who are kind and personable make it so much easier for me to be a good student. I also realized being a “good” student is subjective. I was a good student before my challenge and I will be a good student after. As long as I’m trying as hard as I can, that’s what matters.

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