Teacher moment: TRIO college success edition

Written by Muleskinner Staff

By JESSE PARHAM
Reporter
(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) — Wait, was there not already something about TRIO in the paper a few issues back? Yeah, there was, but this article, should you choose to read it, is about one of the classes that TRIO has to offer, a class that could make getting through college a great deal easier.

Chris Beggs
Chris Beggs

College Success Strategies, a TRIO-exclusive class, is about preparing students for the trials and tribulations of college – similar to a freshman seminar.
Christopher Beggs, director of TRIO and also a teacher of one of the college success classes, said he’s taught the class for four years, this year included. Beggs studied college student personnel administration while working as a graduate assistant at the UCM Office of Diversity and Community Engagement. After grad school, he was hired into TRIO as an adviser, where he worked for three years before becoming the director.
Beggs said he enjoys teaching the class, and his favorite part is when he gets to discuss what kinds of behaviors and attitudes are the most helpful to a college student.
While the class is similar to a freshman seminar, Beggs said it is also different because the class was more about changing a student’s attitude into one that is a better fit for a college environment.
“Changing your attitude, taking responsibility, committing to being successful regardless of how you feel…” These were the words Beggs used to explain what he felt the class was really about.
Beggs said he wanted to help students understand that “for them to navigate something like college or anything later on, be it marriage or a career, that they are going to have to make compromises and to have discipline.”
Beggs said he has advice to any possible students interested in the course or who would take the course in the future.
“At UCM, half the students that come here do not get a degree, and I am looking at the behaviors of the half that do get a degree and thinking, ‘How can I take those strategies and those behaviors to coach other students to do the same? What do successful students do and how can I teach that to other students?’ So that is what we are trying to do in College Success Strategies, and that is our goal.”
Mariah Wright, a junior criminal justice major, said he always has the students’ best interests at heart, wanting to help them succeed.
“The class helped me with my writing skills, especially since I was a freshman just starting off,” Wright said. “I was pretty nervous and I did not have that much experience in essays, so he would give us handouts that would have directions for the essay or quiz, and he would encourage us to go to the Writing Center for assistance, just being all-around very helpful.”
Wright said she would suggest the class to anyone new coming in.
Samantha Watson, a freshman public relations major, said Beggs was one of those professors who would stick out his neck for anybody, somebody who enjoyed helping people and seeing them succeed. She compared the class to a therapy session, where the atmosphere was relaxed and calming, and the professor is great at reading people and figuring out what he needed to do to help them succeed.
“The class is very helpful, especially for freshmen,” Watson said. “I am a very planned-out person, so when things fall off my plan or my course, it messes me up, so it is good to have that one person and/or place that is going to be a rock for you.”
Watson said the class was helpful in figuring out ways to plan efficiently and to keep to a schedule, but also gave tips on how to deal with sudden schedule changes and how to avoid the stress it might cause.
“I would recommend (the class) to anybody,” she said. “It is great.”
One thing that each person had in common when they talked about the class was that it was useful for getting prepared for all the trials and tribulations that college will eventually throw at a person. There are those out there that have a hard time managing said time –maybe they would not mind some help in that general area or just have help for really anything college related. TRIO and the college success strategies class may be a good start.