Commentary: There are no shortcuts to becoming successful

Commentary: There are no shortcuts to becoming successful
October 12
01:30 2017

The college year is now in full swing. Students are registered and are in class. Faculty members have returned and are teaching their content courses. It is my opinion that the student-teacher partnership is one of the most powerful professional partnerships.

As college students, you enjoyed your summer. Some of you had internships while some of you took summer school courses. Whatever you did, I am sure it was positive and fulfilling.

During the summer, you probably realized just how valuable time is and how it flies. You also learned that networking was important and therefore you made some connections.

As an upcoming college graduate, whether next year or in years to come, you also kept up with issues of social justice. Treating one another with dignity and respect should always be at the forefront of your lives. You should know and understand that we are our brother’s and sister’s keeper.

Now that you are back on campus, you must work hard and do your best each day.

Success will not be given to you. It is not a drive-up affair like fast food. You don’t go to the first window and ask for success and then go to the second window and presto, you are successful!

Becoming successful requires a number of characteristics and strategies.

First and foremost, you must have a good attitude. Your attitude about life determines how you will approach it. Albert Einstein said, “Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.”

As you progress in life, a lot of things will happen to you. Kahlil Gibran, a Lebanese-American philosopher and writer who wrote the book “The Prophet,” said, “Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.”

Second, develop self-confidence. Believe that if you can conceive it then you will achieve it. Remember there is a distinct difference between having self-confidence and being arrogant. Being arrogant means you are self-absorbed and believe you are better than someone else. Having self-confidence means you believe in your abilities.

Third, have a good personality and learn how to get along with other people. If you are grumpy, ill-tempered and quick to get angry, you will have few friends. As college students, be charming and kind. That doesn’t mean you must be the life of the party.

Fourth, get a friendship circle with students who have similar goals. It is important in your college experience to have friends who you can depend upon and who you can share ideas with about your goals.

I can recall my college days at Johnson C Smith University in Charlotte talking with my friends and teammates about my plans after graduation. They were wonderful give-and-take sessions. They always occurred late at night or on the “block.”

Fifth, it is important to develop a set of goals. While they may not be permanent, they will help you to navigate your course. As your goals begin to actualize, you may want to share this young adult pledge that I developed with your classmates, family members and friends.

                                  Young Adult Pledge

I know that God will order my steps throughout my life.

I must make good decisions in order to be successful.

Therefore, I will listen and obey my parents, grandparents, and

other relatives because I know they love me and want what is

best for me.

Therefore, I will obey and abide by all rules and regulations when I am at school; I will listen to all of my teachers and other school officials. I will not cause confusion or be a disruption at my school.

Therefore, I will treat all of my classmates and friends with dignity and respect. When I meet someone new I will also treat them with dignity and respect.

Therefore, I will display a good attitude at all times and will maintain high levels of self-respect and respect for others.

Therefore, when I am in my community and other communities I will obey all rules and regulations. I will not have any verbal or physical confrontations with the police or any other authority figure. I will follow their instructions and will not talk back to them.

Therefore, as I am growing into manhood and womanhood I will be mindful of the fact that I have a responsibility to help other young people.

I have a bright future ahead of me so I know that I can, I must and I will succeed.

James B. Ewers  Jr. Ed.D. is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem and played college tennis at Johnson C. Smith University, where he was all-conference for four years. He is a retired college administrator.  He can be reached at

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