There’s Only One Reason Math Is Important

Let’s get right to the point. The only reason that math is important to any student is for grades. Forget about taxes, buying groceries, playing Monopoly or keeping score in Spades. If you can’t calculate your grades in  class, then you just increase the chances of not passing. I recently looked at my undergraduate transcript to take a look at a class. When I reviewed my grades in the class I realized that I received a failing grade for a class that I passed! I pretty much flipped a lid, and I’m still angry.

If your grades are based on points or percentages, it’s going to require some math up front. Instead of asking the teacher to do  hypothetical grade calculation, create one of your own and ask to review it with them–with you guiding the review. Most people don’t want to do this because they don’t feel comfortable in math, but if you control the review session it leaves the teacher to do their job and TEACH. The teacher knows that providing clarity at this point rests on them, and that denying the clarity that has been requested is like begging to be fired. 

If you don’t keep up with graded materials in your class, you’re simply paying for your demise. Assignments that were never completed don’t lose their effect on your grade just because you forgot about them–every point counts. For example: if homework counts as 5% of your final grade and tests count as 60% of your final grade, you might be tempted to ignore the 5%. That’s a bad way to view this, because percentages are based on a total percentage of 100, which is like saying that homework will be 5 entire points of your final grade and tests will be 60 points. If your test average is a 75 then you only have 45 out of 60 percentage points to go towards your final grade. A 45 is not passing–you’re going to need alot of points from somewhere–so now that 5 points from homework are looking alot prettier.

Schedule your assignments just like you schedule your job. You know what time you’ve got to go to work every week, so know what assignments are due each week. When you see your tasks it gives them importance, and it gives you the potential to engage the assignments. But if you never make your assignments visible–give them a face–then they remain invisible until your failed grade gets the spot light…

Why Your Crayons Are Fighting In The Box–How To Navigate Race Relations

Here is a general rule in America: whatever is in your community will become the compliment or conflict of your schools. From gang conflict to fatherlessness to free and reduced lunch, it may begin as a debate outside of the school but it trickles down into the local classroom pretty quick.
Right now there is great national tension over race relations, and each time an attempt is made for forward movement we appear to take an explosive move backwards. If you would like to be one of the brave souls to engage in this topic and actually make a difference, make sure to implement these five steps:

Step 1–Listen: Newsflash…you can’t listen with your mouth open, just like you can’t sneeze while swallowing. Management is often encouraged to fix problems while listening to people, so listening is a learned art for some. Also, listening is intentional. Listening makes you the receiver and not the dominant person within the conversation. Be quiet, make eye contact, ask to take notes, and engage with your body language.

Step 2–Learn…if you are intentionally listening then you will be able to learn. Learning is an active sport, and you do this with your mind while engaging with your body gestures and facial expressions. What are the words that the person is repeating? Is there a pattern to what they’ve said and what others have said? How many times have you heard this complaint? Why do they feel so passionate about what they are saying? Pay close attention to terms that are being used differently due to cultural differences.

Step 3–Communicatenow you can talk, but start with questions, acknowledgement of the topic, and end what you have to say with empathy and concern. WARNING: this is where people attempt to fix the issues rather than completing steps 4 and 5. This is a bad place for ‘soling-the-problem’, because this should be the stage for exchanging information, ideas and dialogue. Some of the most ignorant things are said by leaders because they speak from what they know (or think that they know) mixed with what they heard in order to remain the “leader with all of the answers and no problems”. For example, this is when someone says “I’m not racist! I have plenty of black friends! There are black people who live in my neighborhood!” These facts could have worked in your favor after Step 5 but now they are discredited due to the bad timing.

Step 4–Understand…this is what happens after you learn that what you heard and what you know are not the full picture. You have had time and conversation to lead you to a better opinion. You have gained respect from those on the other side of the argument, as they now trust you to listen. They may even release you to speak to others about what was said. You can tell when someone skipped this step because they speak on behalf of an issue and race, offend an entire race that they typically associate with everyday, and find themselves attacked by those same people. Had they engaged in step 4, they would have been in a much better position for the last step.

Step 5–Change…this is where most leaders want to be in the first place, but arriving too soon can lead to your doom. Some want to be here to gain the reputation of fixing difficult problems. Others want to be here in order to avoid the conflict all together by arguing that the solution is more important than the offense. After successfully completing the first 4 steps your reasons for being at this stage may have changed, and that might be better for everyone involved. By this stage you should have a much more broader and inclusive view. You should be convinced that this is only the beginning of the healing process.

Following these steps will not make you popular, but they will make you prepared. These steps will not make you terrific, but they will make you trustworthy. These steps create character and integrity for your school, classroom, church or company. If you have any questions on how to further implement these steps, feel free to contact me at

You Need First Aid, Not Financial Aid

No one in an epic crisis would intentionally slap a lifeguard, run away from the paramedics, or avoid a star in Mario Kart. That sounds silly at first, but that is how it appears when we reject help-especially when we know that we need it. But according to research help around campus is becoming more and more difficult to find. According to an article by The Hechinger Report, there is only 1 College Advisor for every 367 students ( When you don’t take advantage of help when it is within reach you could find yourself standing behind 366 other students.

I don't know about you, but I would prefer to fight all of those guys with help...I'm just sayin'...
Everyone wants to be an academic Rambo, but if I saw all of those guys at the bottom of the picture coming after me I’d want some help.

If you plan to survive any emergency or disaster you need to know where your resources are and how to use them. Using campus resources is like having a first aid kit, so it needs to be approached like this:

#1. Know What Goes Into A First Aid Kit: Most people can name 5 things that go into a first aid kit, but can you name 25 things? If you have a first aid kit for your house, you’ve gone hiking, traveled cross-country, or prepared for disasters, then you can probably name more than 25 things that could go into a first aid kit. Identify the Student Services office/area at your college…and if you are being proactive, identify them BEFORE classes begin. There will be information online at the schools website, at the Admissions office, or the office for the Dean of Students. There are even Student Organizations who keep lists like these. This will require for you to research and network–which are two activities that require you to do a bit of leg-work. Here are a few areas to call the school about:

Counselors : Not just Counselors for the school, but ask if they have program-specific Counselors, i.e., Counselors for Health Science students or Engineering students. Locate their offices and their free resources.

Disability Support : Did you know that some schools provide special devices for the hearing impaired? Did you know that some schools provide special testing areas for students? They can also help you to determine if you have been dealing a with a learning disability.

Veterans Assistance : These initiatives help our Veterans to get adjusted to college life, access supplies, interpret complex college documents, and simply offer support to those who have supported and protected us.

Tutoring Services : Schools usually have different tutors for each of the major subject ares or those areas that seem to encounter the most difficulties. Now, most tutoring is free so most often the cost is simply your time.

Minority Based or Needs Based Services: Ask your school if they have any academic, minority or needs based student groups available for you to join. Often times these groups have alot of strategies in place for student success, as well as access to other very viable student success resources.

Food Services: You will live and die by your stomach, so know what food services are available on campus. Lots of student clubs have free food as incentives to join, and they already expect you to come for the food. Some local establishments give student discounts but some of the better discounts can be found on apps like the Vittl app.

#2. Locate Your First Aid Kit: You need to know where your first aid kits are. I keep a first aid kit in my bedroom, one in the kitchen, another in my car when I travel, and the 4th is in my office. I have needed all 4 at some time, and most of the time it has been for other people. The point of this is that I knew where to locate my assistance when I needed it–even if I did not need it often. Do you know where to find free tutoring? For Math? For Biology? For Literature? For Economics? Did you know that there are programs that provide assistance for clinical and technical supplies, like nurse uniforms, welding masks, technician gloves, lab coats and more? These programs actually pay for your equipment! What have you found on YOUR campus?

#3. Pay The Fee: There are two prices to pay for free assistance–Pride and Time. We have to put down our pride to ask for help and admit to ourselves that we are not perfect. We must spend the time seeking this assistance, while keeping in mind that sometimes academic assistance is NOT clear. It is often times created, but not publicized nearly as well as school officials assume that it is. They think that an mass email and some small flyers on random boards will out shine the frat party flyers and free pizza flyers. These are outdated notions, and they simply do not work. To find the best resources, it will require a few days of searching for sure.

When my friends and I arrived for our first day on campus, we spent the weekend before classes walking the entire campuses, walking in and out of buildings, and writing down what we found. Why? Because the campus was pretty big, we were pretty new, and people told us everything we needed to know about having fun–but nothing about where our classes were, where the other computer labs with printers were located, and where study labs happened to be for each of our majors. We located so many secrets that for an entire semester people thought that we were sophomores! It’s not too late to begin searching for this material right now. It’s time to get a first aid kit and stop being a casualty of war.


Before You Go Back For More Fried Chicken, Make Sure That You Read This

I really hate ultimatums; I prefer to have choices and options. That’s why I used to religiously eat at buffets. Those places were created for those of us who truly believe that choices and options are better than originality and consistency. If I was on my way to grab a bite to eat and spotted a buffet along the way, I would make an illegal U-turn and make a mad dash to grab my first of many plates.

What I didn’t realize was that the prices for buffets had begun to slowly increase. It became just as expensive to eat at a good buffet as it was to eat healthy. It really made me angry, because cost had been one of my best weapons in the fight against those who wanted to choose other restaurants. And when I got food poisoning from a buffet that was overpriced and poorly managed I decided that maybe the buffet isn’t the only place to eat.

After some intentional soul searching I realized that my real attachment to the buffet had to do with security. I recognize what was being served at a buffet. I didn’t order the chicken—the chicken was already cooked and I could choose to eat it if I liked what I saw. If I went to a restaurant and ordered chicken I was afraid of giving up my position in the deal. Instead of seeing exactly what I was getting before committing, I had to take a gamble. I had to take a chance and risk the disappointment of receiving something that I really wanted but could not obtain.

Is this your reason for not going to college? Is this your reason for choosing the major that you can complete rather than the major that you truly desire? Is this why you have convinced yourself that you don’t need to go to graduate school? Is this why you won’t just take a chance and travel out of the country to take a new job? My advice to you? Drop the buffet.