Monday, March 8, 2010

Dean of Students has message for students

Dean of Students at Coker College, Jason Umfress, recently wrote to the students asking them how they are coming on their personal goals. It was an email so I had no idea how to link to his message so I thought, this would be a good place to share. Dean Umfress, who joined Coker recently, knows something about achieving goals. This past week he successfully defended his dissertation and on graduation in May he will have his PhD. That is goal accomplishing!

Here is the note that he sent to students with a copy to faculty:

Dear Coker,

I don’t know about you, but last night I was glued to my TV watching the 82nd Annual Academy Awards show. I watch every year, and I’m not exactly sure why. I’m not that big of a movie buff, and rarely have I seen even half of the movies up for the awards. The big awards (best actor/actress; best picture; best supporting actor/actress) are nice to see, but I especially like the more random ones (best sound editing, set design, film editing, etc.)…you know…the ones where the recipients have to come from all the way in the back to accept their award. These people always seem much more excited and less scripted than the “actors” who, I suppose, have to be cool when they win.

Last night, however, during Sandy Powell’s acceptance speech (she won for best costume design), it hit me as to why I’m such a fan of the show …because I like to see people reach their goals. I’ve never made a movie, but I assume it is hard work…especially for those people with the less-than-glamorous jobs (i.e. making costumes, editing hours & hours of film, mixing sound, etc.). According to their acceptance speeches, winning an Oscar was their ultimate goal, and as the viewing audience, we were able to witness it. Getting to share in that moment when all their hard work materializes into a little golden statue is awesome to watch.

As we pass midterm, now is a good time to evaluate how you are progressing toward the goals you have set for yourself for this semester. Maybe you decided you wanted to make a certain grade in a class…or prepare for a graduate school entrance exam…or get involved in a student organization…or become friends with someone who is completely different than you. How are you doing? What steps have you taken to reach those goals? How will you know if/when you get there? What do you need to change about what you are doing now to make sure you will reach the goal?

I can hear some of you now…”my goal is to get through the semester.” While that is a great goal to have, it’s not good enough! Just “getting through” isn’t what you should be striving for. You are better than that…stronger than that…smarter than that! Set your goals just a tad bit higher than what you think you will be able to reach. If you don’t push yourself, you may never know how far you can actually go.

If you haven’t set any personal goals for the semester, I challenge you to do so. They don’t have to be huge achievements, but they do need to be something that will make you a better person. Spend a little time thinking about things you would like to change…then get busy! The only person that can change your life is you.

If you have recently reached a personal goal, we’d like to hear about it and celebrate it with you. Leave us your thoughts on the Campus Life FaceBook page.

I hope things are going well for you, and you are working toward your goal of becoming the best you can be. Stop by Campus Life and let us know how we can help.

Stay Engaged,


Jason W. Umfress

Dean of Students

Coker College

300 East College Ave.

Hartsville, SC 29550

843-383-8036 (o)

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