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Three Skills for Lifelong Success

Today we want to talk about outcomes. Once St. John’s Prep graduates leave campus, what lessons do they draw upon time and again?

Prep alumni consistently tell us they’ve developed essential skills and habits here that would be hard to live without. Here are three they single out on a regular basis.

Adaptability — The ability to handle change may be the most useful skill they develop at St. John’s. Why? Over the course of a lifetime, one of few certainties is continual transition. In fact, school is a perfect microcosm: Lesson plans evolve, work groups rotate, new assignments come in, and co-curricular activities require attention, to name a few. Studies show that grooming a healthy ability to adapt to change is an important predictor of positive outcomes for teens.

“I distinctly remember a debate assignment in freshman global studies class where we didn't know which side we had to defend until it was our turn to go,” says Kevin Doherty ’16, who is majoring in International Relations at Tufts University. “This taught me the value of preparation and being able to understand both sides of a debate intimately. And as useful as those skills have been academically, they’ve been even more applicable for me in the real-world.”

Time management — Every student benefits from refining their approach to tackling tasks in terms of the time commitment required, the resources required, and the due date. Getting that equation right means understanding the one commodity that’s often in shortest supply: Time. Prep grads continually point to the time management skills they gained here as contributing to their success in life after high school. In other words, they’ve learned to organize their workload, create a realistic plan of action, stick to the deadlines they set, and execute as efficiently as possible.

“The ability to prioritize is probably my biggest takeaway from my time at St. John’s in terms of my day-to-day life,” says Pat Connaughton ’11, a cum laude graduate of Notre Dame currently playing guard for the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks. “The Prep did a great job of helping me grow up, but also allowing me to grow into that process. As a freshman in high school, obligations and responsibilities can multiply quickly and make you feel like you’re in the deep end of the pool. You have to find a way, and they give both the support and the space to figure it out. By the time I got to college, I already knew what it took to map out my academic workload, even while playing two collegiate sports.”

Clear Expression — Proficiency in oral and written communication is critical for students preparing to meet the challenges and opportunities of a world that revolves around sharing thoughts, opinions and ideas, and being receptive to them, in turn. Command of skills like active listening, responding, summarizing and paraphrasing goes hand-in-hand with a mastery of writing that gets your point across clearly. Succinct, targeted and accurate writing communicates that the author is organized, knowledgeable and detail-oriented.

To see learning in action at St. John's, call the Admission Office at 978-624-1301 to plan a day on campus with the Eagle for a Day Shadow program. “I had to work hard to build a writing style that I now think is significantly stronger than many of my current classmates,” says Chris Jerrett ’18, a Computer Science major at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. “It was a struggle to get there, but amazing instruction and high expectations from my Prep teachers inspired me to push on and advance. This week at RPI, my Data Structures homework involves writing a logic-puzzle solver and generator. This means looking at a daunting problem and breaking it up into pieces and analyzing each piece. That’s the same kind of thinking I applied to my growth as a writer at St. John’s.”

Doherty, now a college junior, echoes this sentiment: “The Prep didn’t necessarily teach me what to think, but how to think. Teachers from all departments emphasize thinking through problems, finding strong sources to support as well as challenge your point of view, and to complete broad-based research to educate yourself on a range of topics.”

Jerrett, the RPI freshman, says he’s living proof of that very concept. “While at St. John’s, I was able to take an independent study elective that really sparked my interest in research. I’m already talking to professors about working in their labs next semester.”

 

Posted by Mr. Chad Konecky in Inspired Academics on Monday October, 29, 2018
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