Destination, Determination, Deliberation

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Anyone who is familiar with the Harry Potter novels will know that I lifted the title of this e-mail from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. These are the three guiding principles behind apperating—the way wizards in his world travel, disappearing from one place and appearing in another (like a Star Trek transporter without the technology, just magic).

As a kid/teen, I didn’t enjoy school. So the first time I tried college, it didn’t work. I ended up dropping out at age twenty-one and going to work full time. But working first as a telephone operator for AT&T and then in the newspaper/advertising industries for many years, I started considering my DESTINATION. Where was my life going? Was I on a path that would lead me to fulfillment and happiness? Or was I just jogging in place, not going anywhere? Being honest with myself, I realized I wasn’t going anywhere and that’s not what I wanted from life. So what did I need to do? I needed to go back and finish what I’d started ten years earlier—my college degree.

But just making that decision didn’t give me smooth sailing. Which brings me to DETERMINATION. When I started looking at colleges, I had few options—because I was in a traditional degree program (not a lot of long-distance English programs out there!), I needed a school close to downtown Nashville, where I worked at the time. I also needed one that would work with me when it came time to take classes that weren’t scheduled during lunch-hour times or after hours. But because I’d become passionate, driven—DETERMINED—that I wanted to go back to school, I didn’t let any of the hurdles or problems deter me. And, eventually, I ended up enrolled and in classes at Trevecca. And you know what? It was HARD! It was hard to want to go to class every day. It was hard to give up social activities because I had to study for an exam or write a paper or read something for class the next day. It was hard to give up so much of my time, especially for those required classes that felt useless to me because they weren’t part of my major. But, then, that DETERMINATION would kick in and make me plow through it—because I would remind myself of my DESTINATION: a college degree and a career instead of “just a job.”

But even with a passion for my goals (destination) and the willpower to see those through to the end (determination), I still wouldn’t have made it had it not been for DELIBERATION. I operate best with set schedules and deadlines. Before each semester began, I set a schedule for myself, planning out my evenings and weekends so that I had plenty of time for my schoolwork—but also time for enjoyment and relaxation. And the more deliberately I stuck to that schedule, the less stressful my life was for the three and a half years it took me to finish that bachelor’s degree—and the two years after that for my master’s.

So my challenge to you, as you prepare to enter the last week of your first course, is to ask yourself these questions as you consider the rest of your time at Bethel:

 

1. What is your DESTINATION? Why did you register for school?

2. How strong is your DETERMINATION? Are you passionate about pursuing a college degree? Are you willing to make sacrifices to see this through?

3. Are you approaching this program with DELIBERATION? What changes have you made/are you willing to make to be able to commit the time needed to your studies?

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Proofreading

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Let’s talk a little about proofreading—you know, that grammar stuff.

Go ahead, roll your eyes. I’ll wait.

Okay. Now . . . one of the things you are going to have to do in the CCJ program is write. And you need to do it right. Facilitators can and will deduct points from your grade for spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors in your Discuss and Complete posts, replies, and answers.

Grammar Basics

Here’s a great PDF grammar handbook, which can help you with almost all of your writing questions:

http://www.capella.edu/interactivemedia/onlinewritingcenter/downloads/Grammar.pdf

Not sure how to spell something? Not sure what word you want? Should it be capitalized? Look it up!
There are wonderful resources online now which can help you polish up your writing in no time! I recommend bookmarking these two so you can find them quickly whenever you need them.

http://www.merriam-webster.com (online dictionary)

http://www.thesaurus.com (online thesaurus)

Is it your or you’re? There, their, or they’re? Affect or effect?
Homonyms and words with similar but distinct meanings are easy to get mixed up. Here’s a list of commonly misused words with an explanation of how to use them correctly:

http://www.squidoo.com/misused-words

Before the end of the week, go back and re-read the assignments or discussions you’ve written. Do you need to fix anything before it’s graded?