THE S.O. WHAT! LITERACY, LIFE SKILLS, AND CHARACTER EDUCATION CURRICULUM FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS
“I enjoyed learning from someone else’s life experience— our textbook was life. It was the life of Summer Owens. The two mottos that will forever ring in my head are, “Figure it out” and “So What!” No matter what your circumstance is, you can get to where you need to be if you remember that and what I learned from that curriculum.”
– Zachary Styer, College Student
WHY THIS COLLEGE CURRICULUM WAS NEEDED
For many colleges and universities, one of the biggest challenges is student retention, student success, and increasing graduation rates. One thing I understand is that many students have legitimate reasons why they don’t finish college or succeed on the level they could. From having to work and or take care of children or even parents to struggling academically or financially or simply losing motivation, many students face enormous challenges to get to graduation and complete their college education.
As a first-generation student who entered college with a two-year old and away from the support of my family, I get it. And my mission is to help every student get that they can succeed too.
I was a full-time student. I was a single mother. I had an internship. And I was a leader in many campus organizations— Student Activities Council, Student Ambassador Board, Orientation Guide, Black Student Association, Frosh Camp, Up ‘til Dawn for St. Jude Research Hospital, and my sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Yet, I graduated magna cum laude and was named Ms. University of Memphis.
I had an amazing corporate career including with the National Basketball Association and FedEx before becoming an entrepreneur. I was honored as an Outstanding Young Alumna for the school of business and received the Distinguished Alumni Award.
I became an adjunct professor and was asked to create a course to help students deal with life and change. Because of the impact of that course, I have created this curriculum and workbook to help more students see that they can succeed and graduate no matter what challenges they face.
A LIFE SKILLS CURRICULUM FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS THAT IMPROVES LITERACY
One thing I discovered as a college professor, especially for younger students, is that their literacy skills needed to be improved. One reason the S.O. What! Literacy, Life Skills, and Character Education curriculum has been so impactful is because students eagerly read the text in which they often see themselves. The book guides students through my journey from being bullied and feeling insecure to feeling confident and achieving success. Through the text along with the workbook and journal, students explore the obstacles that I encountered, discuss my challenges and choices, and examine their own. The curriculum helps students discover who they are, what they like, and possible career paths to pursue. With a focus on helping students achieve success by overcoming their obstacles, eliminating their excuses, and calculating their choices, the curriculum addresses tough topics that impact students’ lives and futures the most.
A COLLEGE CURRICULUM THAT HELPS COLLEGES:
- Increase graduation rates
- Increase student motivation and accountability
- Develop college and career goals
- Promote literacy, academic excellence, and financial education
- Build self-esteem and help students value themselves and their futures
- Encourage leadership, involvement, and community involvement
- Develop character and teach life skills to help students succeed in college and beyond
- Improve emotional learning initiatives
WHAT STUDENTS SAY
Key curriculum topics:
- Understanding emotions
- Cause and effect
- Relationships and sex
- STD’s and teen pregnancy
- The power of friends
- Money management
- Handling disappointment
- Communication skills
- Planning and thinking ahead
- The importance and impact of education
- Delayed gratification
- Goal setting
- Making a good impression
- The value of hard work
- Handling disappointments
RELATED BLOG POSTS
I think many of us underestimate the importance of the decisions and connections that we make in high school. After becoming a teen mom, I still chose to be a leader and focus on my grades so that I could be successful. I was determined to go to college, have a career, and provide for myself and my son.
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