I Can't Be There 24/7 For My Students

For reasons both intrinsic and earned, I am and always have been good at school. I love classes, engaging instructors, like- and differently-minded peers and the chance to learn new concepts and develop and evolve my academic skillset.

That passion drove me to graduate summa cum laude (thanks to that one B in intro to philosophy my first semester to keep me humble and grounded). It also did next to nothing to overtly prepare me for the all-important question of “What comes next?” all students will encounter at some point, though hopefully not as late as I did.

I didn’t leave college as a hopeless professional nomad, but I certainly took more time than I’d have liked to secure my first full-time, salaried job and ultimately decide to return to graduate school. I had the now-buzzy “soft skills” employers have always valued in employees, but I didn’t think of them in that way, nor was I prepared or even aware of the need to present them in resumes, cover letters and interviews.

I’m now 33 and working as an undergraduate academic advisor at a large public university. With the benefit of hindsight and a decade of professional experience it’s beyond clear to me that I developed and enhanced all the skills employers crave from recent graduates and other prospective employees. I just didn’t know how to articulate my proficiency with those skills, much less how to utilize them in a professional capacity.

This experience directly affects how I work with students daily, helping them realize that being able to facilitate a classroom discussion, keep a group project on track or actively listen to instructors and peers have direct corollaries to professional success. We talk about how their undergrad experience is in so many ways adulthood-with-training-wheels, and how each day, class and interaction is another opportunity to develop skills that will ultimately benefit them both as they pursue their degrees and long after they’ve graduated.

I can try and help bring that intentionality and awareness to as many of my 400 students as possible, but at most I’ll see them a few times each semester. On the other hand, they live with their phones glued to their hands, and a daily use app to help further these thoughts and this awareness is a critical means through which they can continue to acknowledge and develop these skills. Enter the LIFE app.

The LIFE app helps users develop and enhance myriad competencies, including soft skills development, resilience and relationship skills. It has also proved effective even prior to students beginning school, boosting mood, confidence, engagement and, ultimately, grades.

Neither I nor any other campus faculty or staff can be there for our students 24/7. LIFE can. Furthermore, students are more likely to use a product when recommended with by an administrator, instructor, alumnus or someone else with some authority.

The LIFE app can work in tandem with other elements of a college or university to better enhance, develop and prepare students for success in school and beyond.

Luke Hanson

Luke Hanson is an Academic Advisor and postbac at University of Alabama at Birmingham.

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