By Stephan Walsh
Neil deGrasse Tyson has said that “…science, technology, engineering, and math will be the drivers of tomorrow’s economy.” He also acknowledges that “most people opt out of hard things.” One could debate why people opt out of hard things, or unfairly accuse students of simply being lazy. Personally, I think that we need to ask ourselves why, when science, technology, engineering, and math education is so vital to everyone’s future, students are so quick to write STEM classes off as being ‘too hard.’
I’ll grant you that STEM classes are not easy. They require commitment. They challenge students to work in order to better themselves. But, they are not so hard as to be insurmountable. With dedication and work, you can achieve success in all of your classes, even science, technology, engineering, and math classes. The environment at St. Petersburg College is ideal to foster your success. We have faculty and staff right here at SPC whose goal is to see you succeed. We have math teachers sharing concepts in classrooms that they have experience applying in their own careers. We have physics teachers with the patience to help students understand the fundamental principles that explain the universe around us. We have chemistry teachers with enthusiasm for knowledge of how atoms bond to create everything you interact with every day. We have biology teachers who can help you understand the properties of all life on our planet. In addition to all of the spectacular faculty that we have teaching our classes, we have an entire staff in the Learning Support Commons who can provide tutoring to help you with any of the topics covered in these classes. Many of the tutors have even attended the same classes that you are taking. They will support you in your success. I know, because they supported me with mine.
Sometimes the push that a person needs in order to begin on their path is just having someone else believe in them. Other people believing in me and taking the time to help me pushed me towards success. I’m here to tell you that I believe in you. I think you can do it. I did it. It was a lot of work, but the rewards are immense, and the rewards continue to come. The first reward was finally learning something that had intimidated me for years, to the point of being afraid to even try it. Then, rewards continued to come when I started sharing my new knowledge with others. The look on another student’s face when invest the time to help them understand a new concept is priceless. The reward of bringing that person along with me on my journey of success is the best reward of all. After I watch another student succeed, I know that person will be able to bring someone else along too. You can also achieve this, if you commit to putting in the work.
You can complete Calculus I, II, and III, and Differential Equations. You can complete General Chemistry I and II, and Organic Chemistry I. You can complete Physics I. You can not only complete these classes, but you can do very well in these classes. I know because I have. I have not achieved success because I am smarter than any other person. I have achieved success in these classes because I committed myself to doing the work and I had the support to see me through. If you have the drive and desire to experience the same rewards that I have, I implore you to do what I did: Commit yourself to success. Go to your classes, do your homework, and use your resources. You can make yourself a better student and, in turn, a better person. Then, share your success with someone else. I believe you can do it.