I grew up in a low-income section of Kansas City in the late 1970s. At the time, the public school system was in turmoil because of court-ordered busing, and if you didn’t cause trouble or cut too many classes, you passed. Like many of my classmates I graduated from high school with horrible English skills and very poor math and study skills. High school counselors told me that college was not a good idea, so instead I ventured into an auto mechanic vocational program. While working as an auto mechanic, I quickly tired of the low pay, busted knuckles, emergency service calls in the freezing cold, exhaust fumes and constant grease under my fingernails.
In my quest for a better job, I began taking night classes at my local community college in hopes of earning a two-year degree in automotive management. After my first semester of night classes, I received some bad news. As one of the last hires at the auto shop, I was one of the first to get laid off. Since I had more free time, I decided to enroll as a full-time student.

I knew I didn’t have much time to finish the degree, so I foolishly enrolled in 23 credit hours. I was reading poorly and rapidly falling behind when I quickly discovered that I was ill equipped for college. I was referred to the college learning lab where I spent two afternoons a week. It is there that I learned some invaluable lessons on how to study.

I finished the first semester with five “A”s and two “B”s. I also noticed many of my classmates who took less hours received worse grades. During that first semester, I learned three important lessons. First, college is about motivation. Second, doing well in class is really about time management and focus.
Third, there are tricks to studying that make all the difference. Those tricks helped me to go on to achieve a Masters in Economics and a Law degree.

Since then, I have continually taught night classes at local universities as an adjunct faculty member for the past eighteen years. I estimate that I have journeyed with over 2,500 students through 80 courses. Five years ago I was asked to expand my teaching into the online environment.

I have found that the non-traditional students returning to college are a lot like I was when I returned to college. I started many years ago writing “Tip Sheets” for students to help them with test-taking, reading, note-taking and understanding graphs. For many years, students have remarked to me, “You should turn these into a book.” I would respond with, “Yeah, one of these days.” Well, “One of these days” has finally arrived.
If you are a student of Economics (the classes I typically teach) and want to read my Economics Blog, CLICK HERE.