by T. Mark Montoya, Ethnic Studies professor

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During the past six summers, I’ve spoken to THOUSANDS of incoming first-year students and their parents on behalf of all the faculty at NAU. Me— an introverted Ethnic Studies professor.

“Strategies for Success” is the title of my talk, where I encourage students to cross boundaries, to ask for help, to unlearn, and to know that they belong at NAU. However, I’m fairly sure that they only remember one thing from my talk, my acronym of S-U-C-C-E-S-S.

So, here is the amended advice (minus punch-lines, stories, and ad-libs):

S is for success! But, what is success? Success is subjective. Know what success is for you!

U is for uncomfortable. You will have uncomfortable moments. Be prepared to do the hard stuff, because growth is all about the discomfort!

C is for chaos! Things will take time and effort, it will require commitment, it will require healthy decisions, and it require pain and sacrifice.

C is for Cookie! …and that should NOT be good enough for you!

E is for experience. Learn from your experiences, because sometimes you may be your best teacher.

S is for self. Be yourself!

S is for shifting! Things rarely work out the way you planned and there will always be distractions and stumbling-blocks. The point to remember is to persist and to develop the courage even when people around you are telling you it is okay to give up.

Please don’t give up.

Get to know more about Professor Montoya here.

What was Professor Montoya listening to his freshman year? Listen here.

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