What happens when a student joins an academic institution for higher studies? How do they form the expectations and the attitude with which they start my graduate and post graduate academic journey. This is important as it sets the tone of expectation management that is necessary later on.
When I join an academic institution, be it a leading business school or an engineering college, I expect the following:
If I were good in academics in the past, I expect that my previous academic excellence and habits will continue to help me in the subsequent years
If I were NOT good in academics, I expect that I now have an opportunity to start with a clean slate, and not allow the past to determine the future.
If I were good in academics:
I had good teachers / tutors. I maybe lucky to have a teacher who could explain concepts very well, have patience and understanding, sometimes force and sometimes cajole me to give my best. The teacher created a scaffold and gradually removed the scaffold as I became more competent. I was therefore motivated.
I liked the subject and found it easy or not boring. Therefore, I gave more time to the subject that I found competent to handle.
I had good parents, who motivated me, pushed me, cajoled me, gave me structure and showed the future. They also held my hand
I had good peer support, who did not pull me down, who gave me respect, accepted me as I was and did not compete.
I had good genes, and I was able to think well, grasp concepts, have patience, could strategise and plan my academics.
I could see how academics would lead to a rosy future, and I believed that I could achieve it
In short, I had
the ability and capability
a good environment and
the right attitude
If I were bad in studies,
I could blame myself, the teachers, the parents, the subjects whatever.
I could accept that I was good in sports, socialising, but not in mugging for exams.
I know that my history of academics in my home town, possibly the same teachers and the same school, same peers and their beliefs about me also determined how I was treated and examined. Now I can create my own persona, without any past references.
I believe that since the new college is a different location with different friends, and since I am not stifled by the environment, I can do better and start afresh.
I can develop new abilities; I can adapt to a new environment and can motivate myself.
But will my expectations match the reality? Will my academic life be as I envision it or will there be a mismatch?
Prof. Chandra Kant, is an alumnus of IIM Calcutta and currently, a senior professor at Indus Business Academy, a leading business school of India. He teaches change management, business leadership and Self Management.