Personal Responsibility and How it Relates to College Success Keith L. Brown Sr.
April 21, 2014
Personal Responsibility Essay
Unless a student was the victim of a substandard school system or taught by a multitude of instructors that refused to do their job by properly instructing their students and holding them accountable, the student is solely, responsible for his educational success. By accepting and practicing personal responsibility, the student is acknowledging its relationship to their college success. While openly acknowledging and agreeing with the fact that students learn in different ways and that proper tools and adequate support are necessary, it is characteristics and skills such as self-discipline, determination and critical thinking; all being the traits that a person exercising personal responsibility would exhibit; that is essential for college success.
Definition of Personal Responsibility
Personal responsibility is taking ownership and being accountable for one’s own actions. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines accountability as “the quality or state of being accountable; especially: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one's actions.” Accepting and practicing personal responsibility means that a person is liable, answerable and responsible for all of the actions that taken, or not taken.
Relationship between Personal Responsibility and College Success Making the decision to stay home and study or complete an assignment is a great example of practicing personal responsibility. Not only is the student exercising self-discipline and good judgment, he or she is using their time-management skills. Making decisions of this nature will ultimately lead to academic success. Why make the decision to return to college and then make a mediocre attempt at succeeding there? A student practicing personal responsibility recognizes the relationship between their actions, or lack thereof, and how well they will perform in college and in doing so will demonstrate certain attributes and characteristics. The three characteristics, although there are many, that personal responsibility should be based upon are determination, self-discipline and integrity. A student filled with determination will not allow obstacles that arise to thwart their success and the accomplishment of their goals. That person understands that whatever their actions are to overcome obstacles are steps in the path to ensuring success. Combined with determination, exercising self-discipline becomes a means toward further self-knowledge, personal growth and maturity. Self-discipline becomes more than just willpower; it provides the student with the ability to see beyond immediate distractions, focus on a goal and do whatever it takes to achieve it. (Rivera, 2008) Doing whatever it takes does not include performing unethical acts to achieve goals. It means making ethical decisions that will support and increase the student’s chances for college success. Putting forth an honest effort in completing assignments and research projects and not simply copying another student’s work is expected from someone having integrity. The harder part of having integrity is to be able to own up to one’s own actions after falling short and avoid looking for some external source to blame. According to Theodore Roosevelt, “If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you would not sit for a month!"
Plan to Practice Personal Responsibility
A personal plan to practice responsibility should include using knowledge gained from the career plan and ethical exercises that identified strengths and opportunities for improvement in a student’s competencies. By being self-aware, strengths can be made further developed and weaknesses overcome. A student should then be able to identify barriers that have the...
References: Hughes, L. D., & Marsh, B. A. (2000). Achieving personal & academic success. Journal of College Student Development, 41(3), 366. Retrieved from
"Accountability." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2014. Retrieved
Rivera, M. (2008, Dec 01). Self-discipline. The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education, 19, 29.
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