College requires preparation, effort for success


University of Kentucky student Shannon Frazer, pictured in the Kernel office on 10/14/09. Photo by Ed Matthews

Column by Shannon Frazer

I was among the nearly 7,000 runners in the Papa John’s 10-miler in my hometown  of Louisville (no haters, please), this past weekend. Saturday’s race was my third Papa John’s 10-miler.

I’ll be the first to say I’m definitely not a competitive runner, but I enjoy the challenge of running long distances and it provides a good checkpoint for my training leading up to the Kentucky Derby Festival mini-marathon in a few weeks.

One thing that continues to baffle me about running long races, though, is the number of people who come out annually who don’t seem to know what they’re getting themselves into.

Yes, the Papa John’s race really is 10 miles in length and yes, training is necessary for distance running. But there will undoubtedly be high participant turn-out every year, no matter the weather, because it’s the last leg of the “triple-crown of running.” I can’t help but to parallel this behavior to that of college students.

While the majority of students at college have at least a general understanding of the expectations associated with attending an institution, there always seems to be some who don’t know, or don’t want to acknowledge, these points of common sense. They choose to continue full-force ahead anyway.

For instance, I’ve met many students during my time at UK claiming to have never cracked open a textbook during their entire college stint.

I’m sure these people want to uphold the perception they are too smart to menially rely on a book to understand a concept, but this behavior is risky and foolish.

Future employers will likely be turned off if an employee refuses to learn about a new concept because he is convinced he knows it already. Similarly, it’s inadvisable for a runner to spontaneously decide to run a long distance race.

Another imprudent action I often observe among peers is the all-nighter phenomenon. Why college students continue to do this to themselves, I have no idea.

I’m aware of some people’s ultra-demanding course loads, meaning all-nighters are practically unavoidable, but that shouldn’t be a regular occurrence for people who successfully master the skill of time management.

Gross amounts of information won’t sink in easily at an ungodly hour if no prior studying was conducted. Similarly, an untrained person probably wouldn’t be able to wake up the morning of a race, run it and earn first place.

I know it’s a cliche, but I really do find truth in the saying, “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.”

I said before there were almost 7,000 finishers in the Papa John’s 10-miler. What I didn’t mention were the numerous people who, for whatever the reason, didn’t show up — even though they went through the trouble of registering.

Call me crazy, but I would expect for people who sign up to do something to actually do it. Similarly, while cutting class isn’t unusual in college, there also exists the obligation to attend enough times to earn credit.  Otherwise, what’s the point?

College is a like a race. Preparation and full effort are required for success. While some don’t heed that fact, there really isn’t any other way around it.