This is the key chain I give to each Hyde senior before they head off to college. My hope is that it will serve as a reminder of the 5 Rules for College Success that I drum into them just before graduation. They are also described in my book College Success Guaranteed:
Rather than wait 8 months to get into this stuff, here’s a slightly edited version for high school students of any age looking to get a head start.
#1: Don’t just be present, be… PRESENT. Be there mentally as well as physically. For more on this, See Back to School #4: Track & Take.
#2: Stop thinking about Homework and start thinking about Studying. The former is a term (describing a short term obligation) that you’ll never hear again after high school. The latter involves honoring a longer term obligation sometimes with nothing due — i.e., exam, term paper — for weeks at a time. The former is about being a pupil; the latter is about being a student.
#3: Commit to something — i.e., an athletic team, school play, student newspaper, etc. It’s a good plan for college. It’s a good plan for high school. It’s a good plan for life.
#4: Stalk Mentors! When I finished the manuscript for CSG, I asked distinguished USC professor and nationally prominent leadership guru Warren Bennis (R.I.P. to an amazing, inspirational man who passed away over the summer. I’m proud to say that Warren was also an alumni Hyde parent.) to read the galley proofs. I was honored that he agreed to do so. After giving it a look, he wisely said something I will never forget: “Malcolm, I really only disagree with one point in your book… You don’t ‘get’ mentors, you ‘stalk’ them, and… you stalk them your entire life.” Yup.
#5: Beat Procrastination. You’re on your own here, but you absolutely must win this battle. (Hint: When you find that it’s beating you, you might try sticking your phone or your iPad in a dresser drawer for a while.)
Onward, Malcolm Gauld