It’s Time

James was the first in his family to go to college. Coming from a low-income family with virtually no resources, James was their hope for a better life. He was an exceptional high school student, but his high school did not have a good academic reputation. James had maxed out his high school math and science courses, but these were generally taught by teachers without strong math/science credentials. Nevertheless, James decided to pursue a degree in engineering.

His first semester in college was a disaster. He failed his first math and science tests, and he realized he did not have the background to pass the courses. Since these courses make up such a large part of his schedule, he could not drop them and retain his financial aid.

James fell into a funk and quit going to class. The only time he left his dorm room was to eat or bathe. When the grades were issued he had failed every class and was put on probation. If his grades didn’t recover in the spring, he would be suspended and his family’s hope for a college education would fade.

In the second semester, James met weekly with his freshman semester teacher to discuss his grades. While James did show up for the meetings, he wasn’t responsive. When asked for specifics about classes, all he said was that he was doing fine. When the final grades came out, he had again failed every class and was suspended from the university.

After sitting out a semester, James returned. This time he reached out to his former teacher with a renewed hope. His teacher had become his mentor. A contract was signed which committed James to record and report on every grade. James’ grades started to improve and his confidence was restored. His relationship with his mentor also improved to the extent that James was willing to share personal information that might impact his grades. These situations were discussed and his mentor gave him guidance on how to deal with them.

When the semester was over, James had earned a 4.00 GPA. When he and his mentor met at the beginning of the next semester, his mentor asked what made the difference? James’ response was simply: “It’s time.”

James’ mentor asked for permission to share his story (without using his real name) to future freshman classes. The result was more than the mentor ever expected. The phrase “It’s time” went viral with the class. Almost every week the mentor would receive an email from a current student or alumni telling their own “It’s time” stories.

Hopes are fine things to have, but hopes alone are not sufficient. They need to be backed up with a commitment to achieve the hope. People also need a hope mentor who can facilitate the commitment process, give encouragement with successes, and empathetic but forceful guidance with disappointments.

It’s time also represents a moment in a person’s life when they recognize that what they are doing can’t continue. Can these moments be triggered from external forces? Maybe in some cases, but more of the “It’s time” triggers have to be internal. If you want to achieve our hopes, we have to realize that “It’s time.”

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“The turning point in the life of those who succeed usually comes at the moment of some crisis.” – Napoleon Hill (Author)

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