Success in class and on dance floor
By Emily McFarlan Miller email@example.com August 19, 2012 8:44PM
ECC president Dr. David Sam talks with incoming students during the New Student Convocation at Elgin Community College Friday. August 17, 2012. | John Konstantaras~For Sun-Times Media
Tips for success
Elgin Community College president David Sams’ tips for success, and fun, in college:
“The first exam you take in your classes will be the easiest. … Buckle down, and do well on that exam.” Research shows students often are unprepared and do not do well on that exam, he said, but doing well will boost students’ self-confidence for the semester.
“These professors have what we call office hours. Ten hours a week, they are sitting in their offices waiting for you. … Don’t leave them lonely.”
“There is absolutely no shame in going to tutoring.” In fact, he said, students who visit the college’s tutoring center get better grades than those who don’t. And the fact they received tutoring doesn’t show up on their transcripts — just those grades.
And, last but not least, for those students who, like Sam, like to party, he revealed his secret: Studying. On Friday nights, he’d go to the library and study until 11 p.m. Then, he said, he’d “take a shower, put on nice clothes and party all night long.”
Updated: September 21, 2012 6:11AM
ELGIN — Elgin Community College President David Sam likes to party.
That’s what he told new students at the community college’s new student convocation Friday in the gymnasium at the Spartan Events Center.
And that’s what he proved afterward, dancing the Cupid Shuffle in a suit and shades with students at the Campus Jam Barbeque outside the building.
“In college, I was a party animal. I partied a lot,” Sam told students. “But I had outstanding grades. I’ll show you how to do that, too.”
The community college president shared his tricks for success, both in the classroom and on the dance floor, before the fall semester begins today, ranging from doing well on your first test to knowing when to have fun. (See accompanying tips)
The college kicked off the 2012-13 school year with the new student convocation, followed by a cookout, DJ and giveaways at Campus Jam; new student workshops; and campus tours. It also showed the movie “The Hunger Games” that night on an inflatable screen outside on the Spartan Athletic Field.
It has held a convocation — a “bookend” mimicking its graduation ceremony and giving students “something to strive toward” — for the past four years, Sam said. He doesn’t know of any other community colleges that do the same thing, he said.
“I am tickled pink. I am happy to see you here because you’re embarking on a journey — a journey that will culminate in your receipt of a diploma or certificate,” he told students.
About 250 students, along with their friends and family, filed into the gymnasium for the ceremony behind the president, members of the Elgin Community College District 509 Board of Trustees and faculty, who were dressed in caps and gowns.
Those students recited the Elgin Community College New Student Success Pledge. They also listened to remarks by Sam, board chair Robert McBride and adjunct faculty member Tammy Ray.
The convocation “made it seem really real,” said Nicole Saldivar, 17, of Carpentersville.
Saldivar recently graduated from Dundee-Crown High School in Carpentersville and said she chose Elgin Community College because it had offered her a scholarship. Her dad also had gone to the college, she said.
She plans to earn a certificate in one of its automotive programs, she said.
Waiting in line after the ceremony for hot dogs and hamburgers and free neon-colored sunglasses stamped with the college seal, her high school friends shared their goals, too.
Lindsey Larson, 19, of Algonquin, wants to study either education or science and plans to earn an associate’s degree from the community college. And Shelby Didricksen, 18, of Carpentersville, plans to study photography and art and go on to earn a bachelor’s degree, she said.
Sam already is looking forward to awarding those certificates and degrees, he told students at convocation.
“I am putting on my calendar that two years from now or a year from now I will see you at commencement,” he said.