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How to make friends and build confidence

Adopt a growth mindset, and embrace learning new skills.
Lean into your weirdness. Your friendships will be more authentic for it.
Don't be afraid to ask questions early and often.
August 26, 2021

After an unprecedented year, many ASU students will be experiencing on-campus learning for the first time

In another record-breaking year for enrollment, Arizona State University has welcomed its largest cohort of first-year on-campus students. However, they’re not the only ones who are new kids on the block; this year, many second-year students will be experiencing in-person college life for the first time after spending their first year learning virtually.

That can come with its own unique set of challenges, said Kevin Correa, director of the Student Success Center. In fact, the center recently changed its name from the First-Year Success Center, in part to recognize the unprecedented situation many students are finding themselves in, but also to reflect the diverse populationThe Student Success Center is part of University College, and the work they do, including a variety of enhancements made over the past two years, is part of the overall redesign of University College, with the aim of ending achievement gaps for students of all backgrounds. of students they serve, including first-generation and transfer students.

ASU News tapped Correa, W. P. Carey School of Business Associate Professor Ned Wellman and student success coach Amber Layne for advice on common mistakes to avoid and tips on how to be successful, both in and out of the classroom.

One of the biggest concerns coaches at the Student Success Center get from students is time management.

“The amount of work and time necessary to be successful at the university level is much different than the high school level,” Correa said. “In high school, oftentimes you hear students say they’re able to get away with cramming the night before or doing an assignment the day it’s due. In college, that just doesn’t work. So that can be a big adjustment.”

Layne said she expects to see even more issues with time management this year.

“Students have to commute again; they’re not going to be able to just roll out of bed and go to class on their computer,” she said.

I think the biggest thing is to understand is that everyone, when they’re getting ready to do important things, has doubts or misgivings. But there is research to suggest that if you’re anxious about something, reframing that feeling as excitement actually helps change your mindset.”
— W. P. Carey School of Business Associate Professor Ned Wellman

In addition, many students are returning to work and extracurricular activities on top of school, and that can lead to more stress and anxiety than usual, which in turn can cause them to struggle with motivation and focus.

To prepare for that, student success coaches went through a week of training ahead of this semester to recognize where students are at in this moment.

“We want to normalize that conversation for students who are feeling that way,” Correa said. “We want to make sure they know they’re not the only ones, and that it’s perfectly OK to feel that way.”

That said, Correa advocates adopting a growth mindset, which embraces the idea that new skills can be developed through practice and effort, as opposed to a fixed mindset, which assumes those kinds of skills are innate.

Wellman, who investigates the qualities of good leaders and has consulted across a variety of industries, including such clients as Intel, NASA and American Express, has conducted research that looks at how much of a person’s success can be attributed to personality versus behavior. He found that only about 20% comes from the personality you’re born with, while about half comes from behavior.

“So learned behaviors are more than twice as important as any skills you’re born with,” Wellman said.

How does one go about learning behaviors like confidence, time management and focus?

“You just have to practice,” Wellman said, “and over time, you’ll get better and feel more comfortable with it. I think the biggest thing is to understand is that everyone, when they’re getting ready to do important things, has doubts or misgivings. But there is research to suggest that if you’re anxious about something, reframing that feeling as excitement actually helps change your mindset.”

If anyone can relate to feelings of having the deck stacked against them, it’s Layne. When she started as a student at ASU, she was nontraditional in many ways: She was an older student, beginning her studies later in her 20s; she was a first-generation student and she was a transfer student from a community college.

If you knew everything you needed to know in college, you wouldn’t need to come to college. ... So ask questions when you’re not sure, and ask them early and often. Don’t wait until the end of semester to get resources that could have helped earlier.”
— Student success coach Amber Layne

She became a student success coach because she was struggling to make friends.

“What really inspired me was I didn’t want any other student to be in the position I was in, where I was feeling kind of lost and like I didn’t fit in at the university,” Layne said.

Today, she is a graduate student at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College and said she has made some of her best friends through connections made at the Student Success Center, where every coach is also an ASU student (mostly seniors, but like Layne, there are some grad student coaches).

“That’s part of the design,” said Correa. “Because then our coaches can easily relate to what students are going though, because they have been through it, too. And because students have the same coach all year long, it makes for a great personal connection.”

Layne encourages anyone anxious about making friends to just be themselves.

“If you are trying to be someone different in order to get people to like you, they’re actually getting to like a person you think they want you to be,” she said. “And that doesn’t set anyone up for success. It creates artificial friendships. So if you’re weird, lean into it. We’re all weird in some way, and we all struggle with the same things.”

As for students whose concerns skew more academic, Layne said, “Know that at least one other person has the exact same question as you, and there are no stupid questions. If you knew everything you needed to know in college, you wouldn’t need to come to college. Not knowing something is an incredible opportunity to learn, and that’s why we’re all here. So ask questions when you’re not sure, and ask them early and often. Don’t wait until the end of semester to get resources that could have helped earlier.”

Correa emphasizes that you don’t need to be struggling to benefit from seeing a student success coach, either.

“It’s a common misconception that a coach is only for people struggling,” he said. “That’s just not the case. Students with 4.0 GPAs see coaches and benefit as well. Our main purpose is that we just want to be of value to students.”

The Student Success Center has locations on all four Phoenix metropolitan campuses, and coaching sessions are available in person, virtually or over the phone.

For even more advice on adjusting to college life, check out the ASU Adulting 101 blog to learn some of the things not taught in class.

Top photo courtesy of ASU Enterprise Marketing Hub

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Rethinking resources and conservation

August 26, 2021

ASU professor says ‘use-it-or-lose it’ requirements should be reconsidered when it comes to natural resources on public land

An Arizona State University assistant professor says laws regarding natural resources on public land are antiquated and prevent voluntary conservation.

“Use-it-or-lose-it requirements, together with narrow definitions of eligible uses, can preclude environmental groups from participating in markets for natural resources,” said Bryan Leonard, a senior sustainability scientist at ASU who was the lead author Other contributors include Shawn Regan, Christopher Costello, Suzi Kerr, Dominic P. Parker, Andrew J. Plantiga, James Salzman, V. Kerry Smith and Temple Stoellinger. on a recently published policy forum for Science. “These restrictions can bias resource management in favor of extractive users, even when conservation interests are willing to pay more to protect resources from development.”

Leonard said resources can include oil, gas, water and a variety of minerals and raw materials. He added the laws were created in the 19th and early 20th centuries when the country’s priorities were different, and they now need to be updated.

ASU News spoke to Leonard about his article and resources on public lands.

Man with pulled back hair and beard

Bryan Leonard

Question: Your paper, “Allow ‘non-use rights’ to conserve natural resources,” essentially states that laws regarding conserving public natural resources are antiquated and biased. Can you give us an example?

Answer: The rights to use resources on public lands including oil and gas, timber and grazing of livestock are typically auctioned or leased to private parties. These rights are subject to “use it or lose it” requirements that say that the government can revoke an oil lease, timber sale or grazing allotment from its holder if they aren’t actually using the right.

In practice, this means that conservation groups seeking to prevent oil and gas development, timber harvesting or grazing can’t acquire these rights for conservation purposes. On private land, a group like the Nature Conservancy can simply buy or lease a piece of land it wishes to conserve. On public land, the right would be revoked and resold to an actual “user” of the resource.

For example, the Grand Canyon Trust tried to retire some grazing allotments within Grand Staircase-Escalante (National Monument) in the 1990s, and they were forced to actually acquire and graze cattle to keep the allotment from being revoked and reissued. Similarly, Terry Tempest Williams entered the winning bid at a federal oil and gas auction in 2016, but the lease was revoked and opened to other bidders once Williams revealed her intentions not to drill.

Q: Why do these laws exist?

A: For the most part, these laws were crafted during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when the policy priorities of the federal government — and the values people assigned to nature — were very different than they are today. At that time, the government wanted to promote westward expansion by encouraging settlers to move west and develop resources. There was also a fear that wealthy financial interests would monopolize control of land, water and other resources.

The laws that were developed — the prior appropriation doctrine for water, the Mineral Leasing Act, the Taylor Grazing Act and the National Forest Management Act, to name a few examples — promoted investment in resource extraction with “use it or lose it” requirements that prevented monopolists from buying up resources simply to control them. At the time, supply of natural resources, open space and other ecosystem services associated with public lands was abundant relative to the demand. But as the public’s values associated with these resources have changed, the law has not kept up to accommodate new uses associated with conservation.

Q: Would this be an easy fix in your opinion?

A: Unfortunately, no. Although there are isolated cases where particular administrations have gotten creative with rule-making to allow conservationists to promote additional conservation on public lands by buying out existing rights, this is the exception rather than the norm. These special cases also tend to be somewhat fragile — they can be swept away when a new administration takes power.

Lasting change to allow more flexible arrangements for conservation on public land would require Congress to actually change some of the laws governing natural resources. If that did happen, conservationists could spend their resources to directly acquire and withhold resource rights to promote additional conservation, rather than relying on litigation and lobbying.

Q: Why would conservationists have to pay for more conservation on public lands?

A: Because it is effective. While some environmental NGOs might balk at the idea of having to pay to promote more conservation on public land, most are results-oriented and would likely pursue this strategy if it were effective. We have some evidence to support this idea. Where conservationists have been allowed to bid on resource rights, they have done so. Thanks to special circumstances, groups have retired grazing allotments, bought out oil and gas leases, acquired and managed fishing quota and submitted winning bids at timber auctions.

Another important point is that the current system, whereby conservation groups are prevented from bidding, actually acts as a subsidy to extractive resource uses. Markets and auctions help allocate resources to their highest-valued use, but that only works when all “users” are allowed to participate. By keeping NGOs from entering bids, existing laws allow timber harvesting, grazing and oil and gas development to occur at artificially low prices that don’t reflect the conservation value associated with these activities.

Q: How does your proposal fit into broader policy goals of the new administration?

A: The Biden administration has announced the ambitious goal to conserve 30% of America’s lands and waters by 2030 under executive order 14008, and other countries have made similar commitments. Hence, the tide has already turned toward more conservation and less traditional resource extraction on public lands. This means that resource-dependent communities will face significant changes to their way of life in the coming years.

One way to approach these changes is through additional regulation and top-down reductions. These approaches breed conflict and leave existing users out in the cold. Alternatively, allowing NGOs to buy out existing users could reduce conflict, help target conservation more effectively and help secure a more just transition for resource-dependent communities. There’s even an opening to do this under EO 14008, which calls for a comprehensive review of federal oil and gas leasing.

Top photo courtesy of Pixabay

Reporter , ASU News