I’m cynical. Sarcastic. A naysayer. Whatever your choice of word, I have a tendency to lean toward the dark side. I think it’s practical to consider everything that could go or is going wrong, but sunshine Sally happy people tell me I’m just a negative Nancy. And yet I remain hopelessly optimistic when it comes to education and students.
Every day, my idealism comes up against newsletters, listservs, and daily roundups often filled with stories of academic failure. Students aren’t prepared for college, aren’t feeling safe on campus, aren’t able to find jobs. They’re drowning in debt and they’re not making it to graduation day. Breaking news: Students aren’t succeeding. It takes a lot of positivity to not to be jaded and wallow in despair or give up hope (tough for anyone, but a particular challenge for dark siders).
So any news of students overcoming adversity and persisting through challenges, of students getting the support they need, makes my cold heart melt. These stories make me cheer and make me think that it’s worth it to be on the bright side in the education arena. Here’s what had me cheering this week:
- A national shout out to a former employer. Okay, I know I’m a little biased, but Bottom Line counselors are doing great things to help students make informed and responsible choices about college.
- Administrators “paying it forward.” Angel Perez persevered as a student and is now using his personal story and role as vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid to look beyond numbers to identify success.
- A university helping its students cut debt. Indiana University is making strides to increase financial literacy and awareness of loan debt by making the information more accessible to its students.
Do yourself a favor and make sure you hunt for at least one happy story weekly. Maybe with enough readers and click-throughs, success factors will becomes more newsworthy, and we’ll read more of what students and institutions are doing well. Hey, a girl can dream, right?