Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What This All Comes Down To

[Special weekly post from Rachel Jorgensen, Digital & Information Literacy Librarian, University of the District of Columbia]

The other day I got a call from a student who I helped with a research paper. She wanted to tell me about the grade she had gotten -- an A. She was excited to tell me that her professor had lauded her on the resources she used and how she had used images to illustrate the narrative of her topic.

Of course, I was grateful to know that I had been a part of her achievement and excited for her -- she had finally experienced creating a solid and interesting piece of scholarly work and had been recognized for it. I could tell that this had strengthened and encouraged her.

After she said goodbye and I hung up, I sat there and thought about what the conversation had meant to me. I realized that at the end of the day what I care about the most are the students of UDC. I say this with the knowledge that many of our students come to UDC with limitations to their body of knowledge and deficits in skill sets.  

From my vantage point on the reference desk, as well as providing instruction to individual classes, I observe that many students lack the type of reading, writing and critical thinking skills that are necessary for them to not only be successful college students, but also successful in their lives more generally. 

They lack basic reading, writing and critical thinking skills, which, quite often, obscures their intelligence. However, I also know these things to be true: they are curious and not afraid to ask for help; they are opinionated; they persevere and are tenacious.

As I look back on this semester, my first at UDC, I am resolved to continue to help students, not only by providing them with the resources and learning opportunities that they need in order to excel, but also by challenging them to move beyond their current abilities. Hopefully, by doing so they will begin to express in themselves what I understand them to be -- intelligent, tenacious, challenging people.

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