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Personal Responsibility Is the Fuel for College Success

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Although many people attend universities and colleges, not everyone has a successful college experience. Success in college relies on many things. Dedication, a positive attitude, and good time management skills are just a few of requirements for a successful college experience, but without the one most important component, college success is not possible. The most important component in the equation for s successful college experience is personal responsibility. Personal responsibility is necessary for college success.

An example of a car can be used to demonstrate college success. A car may have all of the necessary components to run; an engine, transmission, wheels, etc., but without fuel, the car will go nowhere. No matter how good all of the parts of the car seem to be, without fuel, the car will not move. In the case of college success, personal responsibility is the fuel. Just as a car goes nowhere without fuel, college success cannot happen without personal responsibility. A college student may have everything they need for college; the course schedule, the syllabus for the class, study materials, a laptop computer, even a positive attitude, good time management skills, and dedication, but without personal responsibility to tie those all together, the student will not be successful in college.

Personal responsibility is vital to college success. Personal responsibility means taking an ownership in the college experience. When a student takes ownership in his or her experience, there is no excuse for failure. No one or no thing can be blamed or put to fault for the results of the student. The success or failure depends solely on the student. The student can have all of the free time in the world, the most positive attitude possible, and the newest, shiniest laptop on the market, but without taking ownership in the outcome, the student can still experience failure. A student who accepts personal responsibility and takes ownership in his college experience understands this concept. With no one to blame for failure except himself, the option of failure becomes even more unappealing. Therefore, taking ownership provides motivation to succeed.

College students who embrace personal responsibility do what is necessary to achieve their educational goals. These students set out a course or goals for what they want to achieve and how they plan to get there. They realize that achieving these goals may come at a sacrifice in other areas. Time with family or friends may need to be scaled back to make time for school requirements. Personal budgets may need to be restructured to pay for school or tools for school. These choices are made, knowing that the sacrifice made will bring a bigger reward in the future. Students who value personal responsibility are able to see the big picture. They are able to plan for the long term. They are willing to give up what they want now so that they will be able to have what they really want in the future. That is why they are willing to do whatever it takes to be successful now.

During World War II, Winston Churchill said the famous quote, “He who fails to plan, is planning to fail.” This could not be truer for college success. A plan is essential for achieving the desired outcome. This plan must incorporate the different items necessary for college. In my own plan, I have identified a few key areas that I must accommodate. The first part of my plan is the setting of goals. Students who set goals are more likely to have a higher GPA, a better chance of keeping a full course load, and feel less negative about their academic studies (Morisano, Hirsh, Peterson, Pihl, & Shore, 2010). My goal is to graduate college with a Bachelor of Science in Information and Technology. Because I completed about half of the credits needed to graduate years ago, I have set a goal to finish my degree in two years. I have also set a personal goal to graduate with honors. To achieve these goals, I have broken these goals down further and further, to the basic steps of completing all of my assignment in a timely manner, and to complete them to the very best of my ability. To complete these goals in a timely manner, I must plan for time management.

According to a study done by George, Dixon, Stansal, Gelb, & Pheri (2008), “Time management skills are the greatest predictor of GPA, supporting the Britton and Tesser24 finding that time-management practices are central to academic success”(p. 711) Having a family, working full time, attending college, and leaving time for my hobbies requires quite a bit of time juggling. There is no way to make these all work without some sacrifice. I will have to dedicate time that I normally spend elsewhere to my studies. According to the plan that I have made, most of this sacrifice probably will come from the time I currently spend on hobbies. Although I do not want to give up this hobby time, as I find it personally rewarding, I realize that by sacrificing the time now, I will be better served in the future. If my college success enables me to find a better career, it is more than likely that I will have more time and money to spend on my family and hobbies. By sacrificing my time spent on hobbies, I will be able to spend more time on my college studies, which is vital to achieving my goals of completing my assignments on time and to have them completed to the best of my abilities.

Just as a car needs fuel to move down the road, personal responsibility is the fuel for success in college. Personal responsibility means taking ownership in that success. Failure cannot be blamed on anyone or anything else. Personal responsibility means doing what is necessary to be successful. This includes making goals, effective time management, and making sacrifices, when necessary, to achieve these things. Because I embrace personal responsibility, I will implement these components in my college experience so that I will be successful.


Morisano, D., Hirsh, J. B., Peterson, J. B., Pihl, R. O., & Shore, B. M. (2010). Setting, Elaborating, and Reflecting on Personal Goals Improves Academic Performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95(2), 255-264. Retrieved from University of Phoenix Library website: http://www.apollolibrary.com/Library/Library.aspx/settingelaboratingandreflectingonpersonalgoals George, D., Dixon, S., Stansal, E., Gelb, S. L., & Pheri, T. (2008, May/June). Time Diary and Questionnaire Assessment of

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