By Regina Duval, Student Success Specialist

From my very first day as the Student Success Specialist, I’ve been asked: “So what is it you do exactly?”  That’s a fair question.  Obviously, I specialize in student success.  But what does student success mean?

Success means something different to everyone.  For some, it’s a steady job, financial security, fame and fortune.  For most, it’s achieving a goal and realizing a dream.  In higher education, we tend to think of success in terms of academics – earning good grades, completing the semester, persisting to the next term, GRADUATING!

So how do we spur students on to success here at Presentation College?  Fundamentally, we start with what success is.

Winston Churchill had some thoughts.  He said:

“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

Jim Rohn, author and motivational speaker, thought it was simple:

“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way.  If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”

Even Conrad Hilton (think Hilton hotels) had an opinion:

“Success seems to be connected with action.  Successful people keep moving.  They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.”

But perhaps the simplest definition of success comes from a Japanese proverb:

“Fall seven times and stand up eight.”

So what do successful people have in common?  Resilience.  The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties and the ability to spring back into shape.  Toughness blended with elasticity.  Successful people are stubborn and strong and dogged.  But they also flex and adjust and bounce back.  Successful people don’t give up when they fail, and they aren’t afraid to try again, maybe from a different angle.  If they can’t get through the door, they look for a window.  If they make a mistake – take a wrong step – they turn around and get it right.

What does success look like at Presentation College?  It looks like instructors who keep their office doors open and their phones turned on until every student gets the extra help they need.  It looks like staff members who respond to emails from home because they don’t want a logistical hurdle to keep a student from getting into the class they need.  It looks like coaches who teach their players that integrity matters as much as scoring and that academics comes before athletics, no matter what.  It looks like administration who agonize over tough decisions and create policies that make us a better institution, even if it means the pain of change.  Best of all, it means students who learn and grow and walk across that graduation stage with good character as well as a good education.

There is something special here at PC.  We offer a stubborn hope to students who think it’s impossible.  We shine light on a new path for those who’ve reached a dead end.  We remind students that the little engine from the storybook had it right.  “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”  Because our students can, and do, succeed.

We’re just like that engine…we’re “the little college that could”.  Our resilience is contagious, not only to the students who attend PC, but to everyone they touch after graduation – and that is the very definition of student success.