Explore Inside Austin Community College’s Dental Hygiene Program

Video and story by Gloria Nguyen
Edited by Pete Ramirez

Dental hygiene is a growing field and in high demand in Austin.

With the goal of producing competent entry-level dental hygiene professionals to meet the market requirements, Austin Community College’s Dental Hygiene program strives to provide future dental hygienists with the best education and training program in town.

ACC’s Dental Hygiene program is proud to be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation – the national programmatic accrediting agency for dental and dental-related education programs at the post-secondary level.

Students accepted into this program work with faculty who hold an average of 26 years of experience working in the field.

One of the main reasons for the recent growth of dental hygiene is the high pay grade. According to Indeed, the average base salary for dental hygienists in Austin is $39.22 per hour. 

“A lot of our students can be independent financially just by working part-time,” Professor Sima Sohrabi, the clinic coordinator of the program, said. 

“The pay is very compatible with engineers, but it takes only two years for our students to be able to work,” Sohrabi said.

Sima Sohrabi, the clinic coordinator of the program, poses in front of the administration desk.

Sohrabi also mentioned that usually her students start looking for jobs before they graduate. By the time they graduate, they already have job offers lined up. One of the biggest hurdles for the students in the process is obtaining their license. 

The license pass rate for students in the program so far is 100%.

ACC’s Dental Hygiene program is highly selective. “There are about 80-100 applicants per year, but we only take 18,” Sohrabi said. “Lots of students couldn’t get in on their first try.”

To be qualified for admission, applicants are required to get a minimum Test of Essential Academic Skills score of 58.7 on both the Reading and English sections of the exam. 

“On a scale of ten, I’ll give the hard level of that exam a six,” Christina Marie Kumar, a first-year student in ACC’s Dental Hygiene program, said. 

First-year student Christina Marie Kumar prepares to see her patients.

Kumar was accepted into this program on her first attempt. Sharing about her experience, she underlines the importance of studying actively. 

“It’s important to fully understand the subject matter of the exam and your testing style,” Kumar said. “Then, I’ll do a self-assessment. How confident do I feel with the Reading and English sections?”

Because the program is compressed into two years instead of four, the course schedule is tight. 

“This semester in particular, my schedule is Monday through Thursday,” Kumar said. “Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday are clinic days. Those are days I’ll be seeing patients in the clinic. And the rest are lecture days.”

“When you hear about dental hygienists, you automatically think of teeth, but we’re so much more than that,” Kumar said. “There are so many people who come to the dentist when they’re in pain. I get to see these people and assess things like blood pressure and cancer screening.”

ACC’s Dental Hygiene program also offers good-quality dental services to patients. “When patients come here, they get a head and neck cancer screening, extraoral and intraoral screening, dental X-ray and a very thorough teeth cleaning,” Sohrabi said.

Sohrabi explained that after coming through the screening process, patients will be assigned to students based on their scale level.

Patients can get complete cleaning with everything included for as low as $20. More deep and complex cleaning, if needed, is $40. 

Patients are required to have a flexible schedule. They should have time in their schedule for three to five appointments that are three hours in length.

“We need time to do faculty checks, paper work, and they’re still students,” Sohrabi said. “But consider the fee, it’s worth spending time.”

ACC’s Dental Hygiene program is currently accepting patients. The department is located at Eastview Campus, 3101 Webberville Road, building 8000. Call (512) 223 – 5710 to find out more and schedule your first appointment. 

Looking for a Job? Let Career Services Help

Story by Duncan McIntyre

Edited by Pete Ramirez

One of the most stressful aspects of college is figuring out what to do after you’re finished. From communications to STEM, students often wonder where their feet will lead them in today’s constantly shifting career landscape. Then they’ve got to think about resumés, interviews, cover letters – where to begin? Searching for a job can be overwhelming but fear not, Austin Community College’s Career Services has you covered.

“We’re here for [the students],” said ACC’s Career Resources Director, Trish Welch. During the week of October 24 through 29, Career Services is hosting Career Ready Week which is a full week of events to assist students with anything they might be having trouble with. From deciding on a major to dealing with anxiety in the job search, Career Ready Week has resources and events built specifically to help students succeed.

“We have a job fair; we have hundreds of employers who are excited to hire students, we have so many employers who have remote work and sign-on bonuses,” said Welch. Employers will be giving presentations and, for students actively looking for work, the job fair has full-time jobs, part-time jobs and internships.

There is also a session that examines the recent trend of working from home called Remote Control. “It’s how to find remote work. A lot of students are interested in remote work, but there are also hidden dangers,” said Welch. “We want to help you navigate that process.”

In order to make students more presentable to potential employers, there are sessions that help them look at their social media presence and credit reports. “Some jobs do pull your credit report,” said Welch. “It’s important to know what’s on your credit report, what your credit score is and how that may impact future employment.”

Career Services has a variety of tools available year-round as well. Edgar Medina is the supervisor of the first-of-its-kind kind Career and Transfer Center at ACC’s Highland campus. Medina said they offer, “career exploration, career guidance, job search, job readiness, resume reviews, interview preparation and mock interviews.”

The program also has counselors who can administer career assessments and help students decide on majors. For even more fine-tuning, there are specialists who work with students to research labor market information.

If you’re looking for even more help on your post-academic path, Career Services also offers the Strategies for Today’s jobs class. It is a 4-week intensive course that walks Riverbats through the job search process from start to finish. Katie McClendon is the Supervisory Coach for the class. She said the class is there to, “Identify a target job, prepare materials, build a network, negotiate a salary, be ready to interview and also to think a little about their career progression and development,” said Katie McClendon, supervisory coach of the class.

The instructors for Strategies for Today’s jobs are well-versed in the Austin job market and specific industries that students seek employment in. They also provide one-on-one coaching to make career obstacles more manageable.

Paige Swanton and Cristian Ortiz are two students who utilized Career Services to further their educational and career aspirations. Ortiz first enrolled at ACC in 2016. He took one class at a time until he decided to challenge himself academically.

Ortiz became a career scholar, which is a scholarship for students who are pursuing a career straight out of school. After receiving the scholarship, he decided to focus on his career and future.

Ortiz was given an opportunity to work with other career scholars on a job agency and has since pioneered a student-led peer-to-peer employment agency.

Swanton connected with Ortiz as a fellow career scholar. She learned about a job opportunity through a career scholar discord chat and now works for ACC as a tele-recruiter.

Swanton has high praise for Career Services and recommends them to other students. “Everybody helps, if you need something they have someone for you,” Swanton said.

For Riverbats looking towards the future, Cristian added, “None of us are perfect, and most of us have a lot of time to perfect ourselves. If you are worried like I was, we have time – it’s just a matter of building those skills.”

For more information on Career Ready Week, the Strategies for Today’s jobs class or anything related to finding a job, visit the Career Services website here.

Graduating Virtually

Graphic by Kate Korepova

Story and Video By Pete Ramirez

In order to protect ourselves from COVID-19, much of our lives and work have been pushed into virtual settings. Austin Community College’s spring 2021 commencement was no different and was also forced to be held virtually. 

ACCENT wanted to check-in with students graduating during this unusual time, so we reached out to a pair of recent ACC graduates, Emily Pesina and Ashley Silva. ACCENT editor-in-chief, Pete Ramirez, spoke to both graduates to understand what their graduation experience was like and what they had planned for the near future.

A picture of a smiling young woman named Ashley Silva. And a small screen with a picture of a smiling young man named Pete Ramirez.
Ashley Silva, a recent Austin Community College graduate and recipient of the spring 2021 Chancellor’s Student Achievement Award, speaks to ACCENT editor-in-chief, Pete Ramirez, about the her graduation experience.

Career Searching: Landing Your Dream Job

ACCENT multimedia reporter, Pete Ramirez, interviews Trish Welch, Career Services Director at ACC, Pam Fant-Saez, Digital Skills for Today’s Jobs Director at ACC, and Gloria Walls, an ACC student who just started an I.T. apprenticeship with the help of Career Services.

By: Pete Ramirez

As the 2021 spring semester comes to a close, Austin Community College is doing all it can to give its graduates the skills to snag the jobs they want. This often-overlooked work is driven by the Career Services Department, which offers free tools and career coaching to any current or former student in need of help navigating the current job market. 

“Job postings have increased,” said Trish Welch, Career Resources Director at ACC. “The number of employers who are interested in hiring ACC students has dramatically increased.”

Welch believes the challenges students are currently facing revolve around preparing for employment. Through career coaching and innovative technology, Career Services may be able to help relieve some of the stress that comes along with looking for a job, while improving the chances of an applicant landing an interview.

In the current hiring market, artificial intelligence is heavily relied upon by companies to filter through the thousands of applications they receive. These technologies are programmed to search for keywords within resumes to find solid candidates for the position. Career services’ solution to this problem is Jobscan. 

Jobscan is a way for students to optimize their resumes by comparing their resumes against a specific job posting. The platform then awards a score to the resume which indicates if the applicant is a good match for the position.

“We don’t consider that resume complete until it has a score of 85%,” said Skills for Today’s Jobs Director, Pam Fant-Saez. “[With that score], we know that the chances of it getting through to see human eyes escalate way up.” 

Fant-Saez said that the platform can do the same with a student’s LinkedIn account to optimize their profile so that it doesn’t slip through the cracks either.

Career Services also offers assistance in preparing for interviews by utilizing another piece of technology: Big Interview. Big Interview allows a student to practice being interviewed by an avatar to alleviate some of the potential pressure of being put in the hot seat by another person.

With each recorded session, the student can continue practicing until they’re comfortable with what is being asked. The questions the avatar asks can also be changed depending on which industry the student is attempting to enter.

“Students don’t realize how amazingly powerful this is,” Fant-Saez said. “And then they get hired in 10 days as opposed to eight months.”

Students interested in improving their job-seeking skills can access these tools by applying to the free, monthly classes Career Services offers, Strategies for Today’s Jobs.

One student who completed these classes and credits them for her success is Gloria Walls. Walls recently started an Information Technologies (IT) apprenticeship at Saber Data, a local tech company in Austin.

These classes taught Walls the t-chart strategy, one used for writing a cover letter. To use the strategy, place the job description in a column on the left and on the right column, describe how your qualifications match what the employer is looking for. 

Walls said, “I think it also helps to prepare you for your interview because it helps you think about what skills you have.”

Fant-Saez is also a fan of cover letters and encourages students who have something compelling to say to take the time to write a cover letter. She feels it can allow an application to shine brighter among the rest.

“When you don’t have a lot of experience, it might be good to express immense enthusiasm,” Fant-Saez said.

Walls said that any ACC student who is looking for a job should take advantage of this free career training course.

“I think it helps you organize your materials, think about what your skills are and helps you to really get that thing that is going to make you stand out from other candidates,” Walls said.

Volunteering During a Time of Isolation; What Students Can Do?

ACC staff and community members provide different perspectives on volunteering in isolated times.

By: Renata Salazar

As a college student, volunteering is essential when seeking to become involved in your community and craft better relationships. With hundreds of volunteering options and resources, it can be overwhelming to take initiative and find the best option for you. ACCENT spoke to Austin Community College’s Service-Learning Program Coordinator Sabryna Groves, to get a better understanding of the steps students should take to find volunteer opportunities and what it means to become an active community member. ACC student, Olivia Cruz,also gives us insight on what she gained from her experience volunteering through ACC.

As COVID continues, Groves gives us her thoughts on how the pandemic has affected community involvement. 

“I have seen a lot of volunteer organizations are pivoting to work virtual opportunities and safe socially distant options into their agenda. Virtual volunteering is great but I think we will still see a demand for in-person volunteering.” 

Groves believes that our social climate has played a part in the increased demand of students in search of volunteer opportunities. Movements such as Black Lives Matter and Stop Asian Hate have encouraged students to get involved within the community.

“There is a lot of motivation for people to become involved in their community I think now more than ever, and there is a serious demand for us as ACC faculty to make opportunities as visible and accessible to students,” Groves said.

Before the pandemic, Cruz volunteered through Student Life by participating the monthly food distributions that are partners with Central Texas Food Bank. 

“I very much enjoyed volunteering for student life at ACC. I wish I had the opportunity to do it again. I felt like I really had a place and all the people around me had the same intentions to help out,” Cruz said.

Since COVID, Cruz feels that there has been a tremendous decline of volunteer work. Due to safety protocols, gathering in groups and social interaction is not as common as it was before. Cruz shared that she feels that ACC should bring more awareness to virtual volunteering opportunities for students. . 

Groves gives us her top three resources for volunteering through ACC. First would be for students to start at Student Life and look for volunteer work there. Next would be Riverbat Reach, a website that includes 30 different community partnersj that the college has. Through Riverbat Reach, students can join the volunteer program and find work suitable to their needs.. As the final resource, Groves recommends givepulse, a website that provides multiple opportunities. Here students can create a free account with their ACC email and find up-to-date information on volunteering options. 

Groves is currently working with ACC students in the visual communications area of study  to learn how to make volunteering opportunities more accessible to students like Cruz in the future. Students can fill out this survey and participate in helping ACC encourage and present more opportunities to students to give back.

“When you’re working with people within your community and you’re having conversations about social issues, and working together to make a change it’s a very fulfilling feeling,” says Groves. “It gives you a reason to care about Austin and like being able to give back to the community.”

Getting Remote Career Ready with ACC Career Services

We talk to ACC Career Service about the best ways to adapt to a tumultuous job market.

By Adam Cherian

Need help preparing for the job market during a pandemic? We talk to ACC Career Service about the best ways to adapt to a tumultuous job market.

In the turbulent job market that COVID-19 has created, it’s essential that college students adopt the best qualifications for remote or online work. Given the volatile nature of this pandemic, it’s been stated as the safest option to search for work is remotely. Because there is no conclusive end to this pandemic, remote work seems to be the norm. That being said, there are new sets of skills that students need to adopt with such a shift in conditions. Career Services provides the best ways for ACC students to prepare for a career, remotely.

  1. Check Out the Job Search Page on the ACC Career Services Page
    • The best way to start your job search during a time when most things are remote is with this helpful page. ACC Career Services realize that the pandemic has hit working ACC students hard. So to help those who have lost their jobs, they created a page where you can look for job listings in your area. There is an excellent amount of positions ranging from in your field of study, to entry level jobs. Give it a look to help you find the best remote career opportunities.
  2. Read the Career Essentials Student Reference Guide (2019/2020)
    • This guide is a game changer! You will be given the most essential steps in how to prepare for applying for jobs. This guide is extensive, with sixty pages of extremely helpful information. It details everything from resumé tips, to Linkedin profile checklists. Better securing a good remote job is made easy with this guide, as it gives you the best tools to make you stand out. Consider giving this a read when applying for jobs to better prepare yourself, and to impress your future employers!
  3. Take a Glance at the ACC Resumé Guide
    • Need more help making your resumé stand out? During a time where remote work is becoming more necessary, a resumé that exceeds your employers expectations is a crucial step in securing a job. ACC Career Services has a resumé guide that is filled with tips, instructions, and examples to make sure you secure that remote position! Give this a read if you want to give your resumé a professional finish.
  4. Consider Practice Interviews using Big Interview
    • The interview process is always nerve-racking. With the added pressure of remote interviews and technological barriers, this process can be scary. Thankfully, ACC Career Services provides us with a platform where you can practice interviewing in your specific field. You can use this to practice at any time because the questions are pre-recorded. Give this a try and see how helpful practicing real world interviews virtually can be.
  5. Schedule an Appointment with a Career Counselor
    • Once you have visited all the other resources ACC Career Services has to offer, it’s time to visit with a career counselor. Career counselors will offer you with the best advice on how to get, and prepare yourself for a new job. Speaking with professionals on how to better suit yourself for a remote job is priceless, and ACC offers it for just that! If you want to understand everything you need to know for remote work, schedule an appointment with a counselor today! 

The year 2020 has thrown everyone for a loop. Hopefully these resources will help ACC students better prepare for the remote job market. These are the best for career readiness, and ACC students are privileged enough to get this for free!

University Transfer Tips for ACC Riverbats

Written By Grant E. Loveless

Hello Riverbat! Ready To Leave The Nest & Transfer?

Students every day attend community college for a number of reasons, but one of the top reasons is to better prepare themselves to attend and get a bachelor’s degree from a four-year university. If this is your ultimate goal, then you’re probably wondering whether the process of transferring will be difficult or easy and the answer is that it is simple with planning, preparation and patience.

As said above, students attend community college for a number of reasons and most of the time the reason is to use their time as a stepping stone and learning opportunity for the next step up towards a 4-year degree. If you want to take this path, here’s what you should do:

  1. Do Not ‘Go With The Flow,’ Create A Plan!
    • Talk to an academic advisor.
    • Find resources, tools and more on ACC Transfer’s website! (Do not forget to schedule an appointment!)
  2. Decide If You Want To Obtain An Associate’s Degree
    • Obtaining your associate’s degree can prove quite useful and fulfilling in the long run helpful for a number of reasons:
      1. Degrees often transfer more easily than individual courses
      2. An associate’s degree certifies that you have completed all of your general education requirements (be sure you have a basic understanding of the general education requirements at the school to which you are transferring).
      3. An associate’s degree provides you with a credential to fall back on should you need to put your bachelor’s work on hold for any reason.
  3. Do Your Research & Search For A New Home!
    • Research the university you want to attend and speak to an admissions advisor. Let them know you’re interested in transferring and see if there’s any information they can provide to help. It could also be helpful to network with professors and see if there are any programs you could participate in to make yourself stand out.
      1. Define your educational goals. (i.e: What kind of degree do you want to get? What do you want to major in? What kind of career and job do you want after you graduate? … etc.)
      2. Think about which universities you’d want to transfer to. It’s important to plan for this ahead of transferring because every school has different requirements. You want to make sure that everything you do during your time at community college will help you get accepted to your university.
      3. Talk to your community college advisor and tell them about your plan to transfer to a university.
  4. Communication Is Key!
    • Communicate with your community college advisor (and university transfer advisor) regularly to make sure you’re taking the right classes and doing the right things to make your transfer possible.
  5. Apply for FASFA or TASFA Before Application Deadline!
    • Apply for financial aid when you’re in community college and when you plan to go to a university. Your school might have scholarships available specifically for transfer students, so make sure you know about them.

All this information can look stressful or make you anxious about transferring to a university from a community college, BUT you will succeed if you follow these tips and head over to view ACC Transfer’s website! It will be a smooth and easy process if you follow these tips and do well in your classes, good luck and I assure you that you will be great.

Student resources listed on austincc.edu

Advising-Area of study advisors will help you select your classes, stay on track for your degree program, and make decisions about your educational and career goals.

University Transfer & Equivalency Guides Alist of four-year institutions with links and guides to help students plan their transfer to a four-year degree.

Transfer Services– There are many ways to transfer to a four-year university via ACC. Transfer Services will help you navigate the possibilities. The department can also answer your questions about earning some credits here while you’re enrolled at another institution.

Career Exploration – ACC Job Fair

Story By – Delondra DeFreeze

The Austin Community College Job Fair & Career Exploration Event this Spring was a success. Students from across all 11 campuses came together at the Highland campus in search of opportunities. Career Services hosted the event and brought together businesses like IBM and Amazon in the ACCelerator. It wasn’t hard for the sea of professionally dressed students to find supportive words of encouragement from staff members and volunteers at the event.

The ACCelerator housed over 100 businesses for students to network with. Grant Loveless, Student Ambassador for Career Services, values the opportunities that were made available to ACC students.

“The Job Fair was created to bring opportunity and access to Austin Community College students, as well as Austinites,” Loveless said. “It also helps connect student organizations and different opportunities out there for full-time, part-time, internships, externships, and volunteer work to students at all of ACC’s 11 campuses.”

The businesses featured at the Job Fair were organized by Area of Study with Area of Study Advisors located near each section. Students had access to LinkedIn profile headshots, onsite resume labs, and ACC resource tables. The Student Money Management Office also facilitated a free credit report station. The study rooms normally available in the ACCelerator were turned into interview rooms for onsite interviews.

K&G Fashion Superstore and the Austin Community College Fashion Incubator sponsored a work attire fashion show. Katie Johnson, a Creative Writing major, had the opportunity to model in the show.

“I had fun modeling in the fashion show,” says Johnson. “I was excited and nervous. I looked for Youth Development jobs since I used to work for the Boys & Girls Club.” 

ACC’s Job Fair gave students access to a variety of career options.

“This event can open up a lot of door for students when it comes to their aspirations and for their academic and professional journeys,” says Loveless. “It is impactful when you see a student that has an urge to get an internship with a radio station or a job working with kids like the YMCA or doing volunteer work that includes kids like the Boys & Girls Club or Boy Scouts.”

 

When it comes to equipping students with networking skills and professionalism, Career Services is here to help.

“I talk to a large amount of students about Career Services,” Loveless said. “Some people don’t know what it is and the other half don’t know how to utilize it. The one thing I want any and all students to know is that Career Services is here to help. With Career Services we help you build your resume. We help you build your cover letter. We help you build job interview skills. We help you cultivate yourself as a leader. We push you in the direction you want to go in.”

Austin Community College students are not only learning networking skills, but also applying their knowledge in real world situations like the Job Fair.

 

Climbing the College Ladder

Two Austin Community College Alumni from different walks of life, share their stories in hopes to change the stigma of junior colleges.

Written, Photo & Video by Marissa Greene

Once one has come to the point of receiving their high school diploma or completing their GED, what’s next? Well, that may look different for some people. It could be taking a gap year, entering the workforce or attending a college.

“Not going to college was never an option,” says ACC Alumni Network Council President, Lynn Kindler. Like many, Kindler was encouraged to take, at least, one year at ACC by her father. So, she began her educational journey in 1980 at the Rio Grande campus.

Decades later, a first-generation student, Jose Sosa, began his college education at ACC in 2002. “It was a big challenge, to be honest,” he says. “I never thought I would be able to accomplish my associate’s degree.”

Sosa was able to further his education through ESL and math classes to better his GPA at ACC before transferring to a four-year university.

Many pursue community college to make the transfer to a four-year college. However, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics, this past fall approximately 13.3 million first-year students enrolled in a four-year university, while 6.7 million students attended a two-year college. That’s nearly twice as many students paying more for the basic courses. What causes this gap – is there a stigma related to attending a community college?

“I had a lot of shame going on…it’s like everybody knew I was going to a community college instead of UT or St. Edwards,” says Kindler. “But I knew I was getting the education I needed because the classrooms were smaller and I was getting the attention I needed from the professors.”

As some may feel a lack of clout at a community college, others feel the stress of juggling daily tasks.

“I had to meet deadlines, go to work, study for my tests, and travel between campuses because I didn’t have transportation at the time,” Sosa says.

Prioritizing these tasks can be difficult for some. ACC works to create a variety of resources provided to its enrolled students, from financial readiness with Student Money Management to goal setting with academic coaches to networking with the Alumni Council.

“I was very disciplined to take my tests,” Sosa says as he took advantage of ACC resources in order to comb through all that he had to accomplish. Once he completed his associate’s, he wasn’t done just quite yet. Sosa took it to the next level by attending Texas State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 2013.

“I truly believe in education, it is very important,” Sosa says. “It can open so many doors professionally in so many ways.”

After looking back at all of her accomplishments and her start at ACC, Kindler recommends trying a two-year college before anything else. “It has taken a progression of many years for me to get to the place where it’s not a shame thing to go to community college. In fact, as a career coach…if you don’t know exactly what you want to do and where to get it, why wouldn’t you go to a community college to get the first two years knocked out?”

Kindler completed so many of her classes at ACC that she only had to earn 30 credit hours after transferring to UT. She claims to have a passion for helping others, “when I’m working with somebody and they’re really struggling with something or looking at something in their life, I can help them unlock the knowledge and gifts that they already had in them and wow that’s awesome.”

As members of the ACC Alumni Network Council, Kindler and Sosa show thanks to ACC for being their first steps to where they are today.

“I would like to give back to all that ACC has given me,” Sosa says. “What I tell students is that when I came to ACC I was not very fluent in the language. So if I could do it anybody else could do it.”

Whether you are looking to go back to school or beginning your first semester of community college, think about Jose Sosa and think about Lynn Kindler and think to yourself if community college is really all that bad?

Jose Sosa is a Lead Safety Coordinator at Workers Defence Project and owner of Sosa Income Tax and Adela’s Cleaning Services. He also earned OSHA Safety Certification to educate construction workers and nonprofit organizations about safety in the workplace.

After college, Lynn Kindler had a variety of careers such as an Executive Assistant to the Publisher of Texas Monthly, a mentor coach, Producer and host for Blog Talk radio, a career coach, amongst many others.

 

Motivation in a New Year

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Written by Arlenne Lozano
Video from the Student Life Chronicle

Motivation is a force that drives people to execute goals. Sustaining motivation can pay off in many ways; such as achieving personal goals, feeling successful or earning a reward. Hard work does pay off. Whether it’s working towards a degree or continuing education, the struggle to keep the motivation is real.

“I think we’re naturally goal-directed; we have a purpose for doing most things,” says ACC Counselor Dawn Allison. “‘I want this degree for this career’ or something like that, but then there is just every day slogging through the homework, studies, and attendance, so sometimes we lose sight of that.”

So, how can students keep the motivation going in the upcoming year and semester?

Have S.M.A.R.T. Goals:
Specific A person who knows what their goals are is off to a good start but it can become a problem if that goal is too broad. The more specific and narrow the goal is, the more manageable and achievable. Ask personal questions, such as: why is this goal important to me? What do I want to accomplish with this goal in mind? What resources do I have that will allow me to accomplish the goal?

Measurable – Having a goal that is measurable is important because it helps one keep track of the progress. Having access to measuring a goal opens the ability to stay focused and meet important deadlines.

Achievable – Having achievable goals is vital to the process itself. Continue to reach for the stars, but think about the realistic ways you can get there. Ask yourself, “what skills are necessary for a particular goal” – what is needed to build them – go from there.

Relevant   Sometimes a person’s goals are influenced by family, friends, other loved ones.

Another important question to ask yourself, “is this my goal?” Maybe trying to be an engineer, just because the family does it, is not what you truly want as a career. Making a goal personal can turn out to be very rewarding.

Time-limiting/Time-bound – Create a deadline or target date for each goal. Think about what you can accomplish in six days, weeks, months, and years from today. Think about what there is to do today i order to meet that deadline.

Prioritize:
Students have a lot going on that requires a day-to-day balancing act. Prioritizing responsibilities can help make the tasks less intrusive, stressful and overbearing on one’s personal life.

Know What Personally Motivates You:
It is important for all individuals to understand what personally drives them each and every day.Allison said, “We’re driven by something to look forward to.” Perhaps the source is money, a new car, a degree, or good grades.

See an Advisor/Counselor:
Seeing an advisor can be important for students to find the help they might need. Students might need help with transferring, choosing classes, or knowing what their next academic step is. Educational goals can be either short or long-term, so it is important to take advantage of given opportunities. Make an appointment with a counselor at austincc.edu/support-and-services.

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