Saturday, July 26, 2014

You're Older. You're Starting College. No Need to Stress!

Starting a new school is always a jittery experience, but it's especially so when you've been out of the classroom for what seems like a lifetime.  If that's your situation, know that you've plenty of company.  In fact, you're part of a pretty large student population here at NCC--people who've decided at 25, 35, 45, or whatever age to see what college is all about.

Regardless of the date on your birth certificate, the fact that you've decided to continue your education is what matters.  Starting college at any age is an important step, but for older students it's often the ultimate life changer, a turning point like no other.  So before that thrilling (and terrifying!) first day of classes arrives, here are some tips on making your college experience a memorable one.

1.   Get over the age thing.  Most NCC students don't care a lick about the age of the people sitting next to them in class.  As long as their classmates are interested, serious, respectful, and approachable, it's all cool.  About the only time age becomes an issue is when someone gives off an "I'm-older-and-I-know-it-all" attitude, which sometimes implies disdain for younger students.  Don't be self conscious about your age.  Be genuine and you'll hit it off with students from 17 to 75.

2.   Be open to school.  You'll get out of college what you put into it.  If you approach school with the right attitude, you'll definitely be satisfied more often than not.  View each of your classes as a chance to stretch and grow, and try to focus on what you can take away from every experience (both in and out the classroom). There's a lot to learn in college, not only about the world but about yourself.  Stay on your toes.

3.  Use your help. Whether it's working with a Writing Center tutor on a paper, asking a librarian for help with a research question, or taking part in a Career Center workshop, you owe it to yourself to get the most out of NCC's many tutoring, counseling, and other support services (  You'll learn about services at the Adult Student Orientation on Wed., August 27 (call 572.7141 for details). And be sure to get acquainted the Adult Resource Center (a must for older students!) in Nassau Hall.

4.  Be smart (and realistic) about time.  Managing classes, a job, a social life, and family responsibilities isn't impossible, but it definitely requires you to be organized, to keep your priorities straight, and to make your minutes count. The challenge is to strike a balance between school and the other parts of your life, all of which deserve your attention.  If you need advice on making everything fit, try our time management workshops ( or chat with your NCC 101 instructor (  Both will help.

5.  Connect with the campus.  No matter how busy you are, don't let college become a solitary experience.  Talk to students in your classes. Join a study group (a good way to get a better handle on what you're studying AND to get to know your classmates).  If your department or program schedules a speaker or some other event, attend. Also, join a club: there are more than a hundred at NCC, all offering chances to meet people.  And, of course, get to know your professors, most of whom will be eager to speak with you about your coursework and offer thoughtful advice about college.

Still nervous about starting Nassau?  Don't be. You're beginning a great new chapter in your life, one that will be interesting and rewarding and exciting.  And even if you hit a few bumps in the road along the way (everyone does), keep this advice in mind and your college journey will be awesome.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Who's Up for a Summer Workshop?

So now that high school is in your rearview mirror, you're probably starting to think about what lies ahead, including, of course, the next "chapter" of your life--Nassau.

Some good news: You don't have to wait until classes start to get a glimpse of college. Attend one of our free summer workshops scheduled over the next four Wednesdays (July 23 and 30 and August 6 and 13) and you'll come away with a ton of useful and valuable information about NCC.

Workshops (twelve in all) will cover a range of topics--academic skills (time management, note-taking, and test-taking), campus life (clubs, sports, etc.), online courses, career services, the campus Library, NCC's "extras" (campus jobs, scholarships, internships, international study, etc.), campus volunteer opportunities--pretty much everything you need to know to get off to a good start in September.  Each workshop runs a single hour and each addresses a specific topic.

You can attend as many workshops as you please--there's no limit and no RSVP needed!  All you have to do is show up (all workshops are held in the College Center, Rm. 251), have a seat, help yourself to a snack, and take it all in.

Why attend?  Why not wait until September to get a handle on college?  Two reasons: 1) College is very different from high school (don't expect a rerun of your senior year); and 2) Nassau is a BIG college--more varied and interesting than high school certainly--but also more complex than any school you've attended to this point.  Being familiar with NCC's landscape in advance can only help.

Besides, we're talking about only a few hours out of your entire summer--a small investment of time that will pay big dividends just down the road.  Trust me.   

Here's a list of workshop topics.  For descriptions (along with other info), scroll down the "Summer Workshops" page that's part of our Orientation link.  If you have questions, you can call us, Monday through Thursday, at 516.572.7148.

Hope to see you . . . .

July 23

10 a.m.   NCConline
11 a.m.   Quick Tips on Academics
12 noon  Ask a Librarian

July 30  

10 a.m.   NCConline
11 a.m.   Finding Your 'Dream' Career
12 noon  Want to Make a Difference?

August 6  

10 a.m.   Want to Make a Difference?
11 a.m.   Life Outside the Classroom at NCC
12 noon  NCConline

August 13  

10 a.m.   Life Outside the Classroom at NCC
11 a.m.   What to Expect in Your Classes at NCC
12 noon  Making NCC Work for You

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

An "Oasis" for New College Students

Wouldn't it be neat if you could start Nassau knowing practically everything you need to know about the College, including how to get around campus, what to expect from your professors, where to go for help, what student life is all about, and how to handle (maybe even ace) your classes? 

Well, guess what--you can.  It's called NCC 101: The College Experience.  And for the past 22 years, it's been an oasis of information and support for thousands of new Nassau students.

NCC 101 is Nassau's college success course.  Its basic goal is to help you get off to a good start in college, succeed in your classes, and make the most of your time at Nassau.  

The course provides lots of useful information about NCC, teaches practical skills (like how to manage your time, take good class notes, and prepare for tests), and offers thoughtful advice on navigating college--everything from strategies for getting along with your professors and tips on using campus services to the ins and outs of clubs and campus life.   

All this in a one-credit course.  

One of the best things about NCC 101 is its faculty.  The course is taught by professors who know how college works and who are committed to helping you get settled in school.   They're people you can call on no matter what your concern--being better organized, finding a major or career, getting a handle on academics, meeting people on campus, whatever.  Taking NCC 101 is a little like having a friend at Nassau, somebody whose door you can knock on if you have questions, need advice, or even find yourself in a jam.

It's a really cool way--and a smart way--to start your college career.

You can find out more about NCC 101 by calling 516.572.8030.  Don't worry  If you've already registered for classes for the fall semester.  Someone will answer your questions and help you add the course if you would like.  And by the way, you can also take the NCC 101 this summer.  There are day and evening sections, each running two weeks, in early August.

NCC 101 isn't a miracle drug, of course.  If you want to have a good experience in college, you'll still need to be open to school, make your classes a priority, and be willing to work hard.  But if you're looking for some straight talk about college success, you can't go wrong by making NCC 101 part of your schedule.  It's the ultimate inside track.

And at a big college like Nassau, being on the inside track can help you start and finish strong. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Getting Acquainted . . . .

Chilling with friends, spending days at the beach, going to parties, ball games, concerts, movies: Can there be anything better than the summer between high school and college?  

Probably not.  If you just graduated, this is a time to kick back, relax, and take in summer's pleasures.  July and August won't last forever, of course, but they're here now--so why not enjoy the moment? 

But now and then over the next two months, take a little time also to get acquainted with Nassau. Start by browsing the New Student Orientation link on the NCC homepage --lots of interesting and useful NCC info here.  Follow us on Twitter -- --for updates on NCC life and events.  Or just read the FAQs in the "Starting Smart" publication you got when you registered for classes.  It will probably answer some questions you've been meaning to ask.

And if you really want to see NCC up close before September arrives, spend a Wednesday morning at our summer workshops.  From July 9 to August 13 (six dates in all), we'll be covering all sorts of topics you should know about--everything from quick tips on academics and the A-Z of financial aid to NCC's hidden gems (internships, scholarships, help centers, and campus life) and the role of our Career and Job Placement services in helping you find your "dream" career.  

You'll find a schedule of workshops (and descriptions) under "Summer Workshops" at  Workshops run from 10 a.m.-12:50 p.m. each Wednesday.  They're free.  No RSVP is necessary.  You can attend as many (or as few) as you want.  All you have to do is show up in the College Center, Rm. 251, and have a seat.

Of course, you'll find out even more about NCC at the New Student Orientation program in late August (read your NCC email and check back here for more details about Orientation).  But that's still almost two months away.  Between now and then, take advantage of our online resources and summer workshops to "ease" into college.  You'll learn some cool stuff about Nassau, get a quick glimpse of the campus, meet some of your new classmates--and still have time to have the summer of your life.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Remembering Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner

They were young, all in their early twenties.  Two were from the North, one from the South.  Like so many people, mostly college students, of their time, they believed they could make a change, which is what brought them to Mississippi in 1964.  They were part of a nationwide civil rights movement to help register African Americans to vote and, in the process, to challenge Mississippi's racist laws and practices.

Working for racial justice in Mississippi was a dangerous activity back then, inviting threats, harassment, and violence from members of the Ku Klux Klan and others opposed to change.  Aware of the risks, the three volunteers, Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner, pushed on anyway, encouraging Mississippi's African-American residents to register to vote and helping to set up local "Freedom Schools," which would educate African Americans about their rights.

For this they were killed.

Fifty years ago this month, Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner were shot by members of a faction of the Klan known for its violence and ruthlessness.  The killings took place at night along a dark Mississippi road; the victims' bodies were dumped in a nearby dam and not discovered until 44 days later.

The killings of Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner helped focus national attention on racial violence and racial inequality, especially in the South.  Some point to their deaths as having played an important role in the passage of national civil rights legislation later that year.

Probably so.  But for me, the LIVES--not the deaths--of Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner are what we should be remembering this summer.  All three believed in justice--in particular, in the need for everyone to work toward making a just world.  All believed in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s words that injustice anywhere was a threat to justice everywhere.  And all were willing, at a young age, to act on their beliefs.

This isn't an invitation to young people (or anyone else) to follow blindly in Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner's footsteps.  The world continues to be an unfriendly, sometimes even hostile place for those intervening on behalf of others or trying to level the playing field.  As always, those lobbying for change have to be careful.

But being careful doesn't mean being indifferent.  Never has there been a greater need for people to try to make a difference in the world.  And often, some of the most meaningful changes are those supported by young people, whose idealism, energy, and tenacity prove too strong for the status quo to resist.

So whether you're starting NCC this fall or beginning your next semester here, you need to step back (now and then at least) from your own concerns and look at the big picture.  There's probably a cause or issue that's important to you and that deserves your time.  Learn about it and think about what you can do to become involved.  Plenty of young people from previous generations have made their voices heard, usually with positive results; now it's your turn.  Think of it as a "thank you" to Goodman, Chaney, Schwerner and others who came before you--and a "you're welcome" to those who'll benefit from your courage and convictions.

Monday, June 23, 2014

High School is History

Who out there is feeling funny about graduating from high school?

Who's sad about leaving behind friends, classmates, teammates, teachers, and a world that's been with you forever?

If saying goodbye to high school suddenly seems strange, you're not alone.  Moving on is tough.  It's especially so when you're replacing the old familiar terrain with a new and uncertain one.  Change can be scary.

But it can also be exciting.  And if you give college a chance, it will be one of the most interesting, inspiring, enlightening, and thought-provoking experiences of your life.  It will also be personally fulfilling and--ready for this?--even fun, in different ways than high school ever was.

More freedom, more choices, more say in your education, more chances to be yourself (or to figure out who you are): College promises all of these things.  It also promises more personal responsibility; get ready to start asking more questions and paying more attention to school than you've probably done previously.  But that's adulthood for you--lots of heavy lifting in the maturity department.

So as you say your farewells in the days and weeks ahead, it's okay to feel a little nostalgic about high school.  Its good times hopefully outnumbered the bad and its lessons--about education, people, and life--will hopefully stay with you.  But make no mistake: high school is over, finished, done, part of your past.  Time to look ahead to college, which will be here before you know it and which (if you let it) will enrich your life more than you can right now ever imagine. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Learning from the Spurs

You have to hand it to the San Antonio Spurs.  Not only did the Spurs win this year's National Basketball Association championship in convincing fashion, they did so by demonstrating the importance of selflessness, consistency, composure, and teamwork.

The Spurs won more than sixty games during the regular season, finishing with the best record in the NBA.  And they had little trouble in the playoffs, defeating even the talent-rich Miami Heat to claim their fifth championship in fifteen years.

Clearly, the Spurs have game.  They're a talented team, featuring several future Hall of Famers and a terrific coach. 

But they also have other habits that serve them well.  They play smart, thoughtful basketball.  They stress fundamentals.  They play as a team.  They keep their egos and emotions in check, even when things on the court are not going their way.  And they learn from setbacks, as they obviously did after losing to the Heat in last year's finals.  

These are behaviors that everyone--especially new college students--would be smart to learn early on.  College asks you to be serious about school and to come to class ready to "play" (note my quotes!).  It calls upon you to use your support (help centers and student services) when some timely help from others can make a difference.  It insists that you show up regularly--and keep up over the long haul--and that you stay calm and composed during  stressful situations.  College also encourages you to learn from mistakes, including those moments (in or out of the classroom) that are disappointing and that you wish you had back.

Going to college may not seem as exciting as playing in the NBA finals (no chance of your being interviewed by ESPN or making the cover of Sports Illustrated after acing a test), but the two activities are more alike than you might think.  Both require  intelligence, commitment, tenacity, patience, and initiative.  Both also encourage dependence on others, at least at times, along with the ability to control emotions and impulses. 

What's more, they share a commitment to delayed gratification (think of all those hours spent in the gym  and/or the library) en route to the big moment--championship games or graduation. 

Even if you stink at basketball (like I do), know that you're in good company when you work as hard as Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and the rest of the Spurs. There's plenty to be said for dedication and discipline, no matter where they make their presence felt.