The Best Treats Are Not Earned with Tricks

Shortcuts Thwart Success

The temptation for college students to take shortcuts in academic work, long a human tendency, is more prevalent and irresistible in today's college students than perhaps ever before. Several factors are contributing to the situation, among them the speed of electronic tools, the ease of finding and using information, and the constant thrum of distractions that leads many students to want to quickly execute academic tasks so that they can turn their attention to something they find more engaging. 


Although shortcut "tricks" may lead to an immediate completion gratification that feels like a "treat," students who cut corners consistently are risking the loss of the true treats of lasting learning and employability. Choosing to generate a paper using AI or writing a lame discussion post might earn a student some points, but similar choices may endanger or doom the same person in a workplace environment. 


When coaches notice coachees taking shortcuts, they can respectfully challenge students by shifting focus to the future workplaces in which students envision themselves. Questions like these can illuminate the cost of tricks and the actions that lead to the real treats:

  • What is the dream job you are aiming for in about five years? Think about the way in which you are completing these discussion posts -- how might that tactic work on the job? 

  • Habits build neural pathways in the brain. What habits do you have as a student that will serve you well in the workplace? What habits will not? How might you shift a habit right now to be better prepared to succeed down the road?

  • What is the cost of this shortcut over time in this course?

  • When you take a shortcut, why do you think you are avoiding the work? How might you grow from addressing this "why?"

  • What learning might you gain from putting in the effort that is asked of you? How can the learning serve you in your career?

Build a practical collection of coaching tricks -- useful ones -- to help students earn the best treats! Happy Halloween!!

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