Skip to main content
Sign In
SMC|Administration & College Governance|District Planning & Policies|GRIT Initiative|You +1 Messages

You +1 Messages




Congratulations on being selected to be a part of the “You + 1” Program! It’s quite an honor that our student at Santa Monica College has selected YOU to be a “+1” or “coach.”

As you’ve heard, college isn’t easy. There is a lot to learn, and a whole new world to navigate. Often times, the college road is a bumpy one, and students may feel like they want to give up. That’s where your job comes in. As a “+ 1,” we encourage you to make time to encourage and listen to your student. We know and you know your student can do this, but at times your student is going to need your support, listening ear, reassurance, and inspiration.

Having someone believe in you is a powerful thing. Let your student know how you feel. Talk about your student’s strengths and gifts. Students need help understanding that every process is a journey with ups and downs, successes and failures. This is life, and college is no different. If students want to be successful and achieve their dreams, they have to be willing to fight the fight and pick themselves up when they fall. They also have to take time to celebrate when they succeed – no matter how small the success or gain. Let your student know that you will always be there – to offer an encouraging word, to share a cup of coffee or to listen to hopes and dreams and even fears.

Please remember the wise words of Maya Angelou. It’s not what you will say and it’s not even what you will do, it’s how you will make your student feel. Congratulations again! We are thrilled to have you in the “You + 1” program!

"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."  


Message 1: Determine your purpose 

Please watch the following YouTube video and consider sharing it with your student.

Kid President has a lot to say! And he’s right – everyone needs a pep talk!

As you begin to talk with your student, it’s important that you encourage thinking about a purpose in life and school. If your student can’t come up with a purpose, you might try asking about hobbies, passions, special skills or what your student likes to do during free time. Why is your student at Santa Monica College? What does your student hope to gain from an experience here? What does your student plan to do after SMC?

Studies show that students who have a purpose or clearly stated goals are much more likely to persevere and be successful in school. If your student is undecided or still exploring, encourage a visit to the SMC Career Services Center and a talk with one of our career counselors. These counselors can help your student identify personal interests and values and match those with SMC majors and career paths.

Ultimately, you want your student to answer the question that Kid President asks, “What will you create that will make the world awesome?!”


Message 2: Perseverance: Cross the finish line with your student

Please watch the following YouTube video and consider sharing it with your student.


There will undoubtedly be times when your student wants to give up. Perhaps it will be when the first paper gets returned or a mid-term doesn’t go as planned. This is all part of the college experience. What sets successful students apart from other students is their ability to persevere, to “power through” and not give up. Encouraging words from you will help. Help your student understand that progress happens “inch by inch,” and then ultimately the game is won.

Helping students find useful resources will also help them reach the finish line. Perhaps your student could benefit from talking with a professor or seeking out tutoring or supplemental instruction. Maybe a study group is the answer, or perhaps reducing outside obligations such as work or caring for siblings. Your student might want to consider attending a “student success workshop” or discussing any concerns with an academic counselor. Plus there is always help available from you. Help your student cross the finish line!



Message 3: Growth Mindset: Reframing Your Failures

A Growth Mindset: Means that you believe intelligence can be developed. 

Have you ever wondered why two people who are seemingly equal in talent or intelligence fare differently in life? According to Dr. Carol Dweck, a psychologist from Stanford University, people’s beliefs about their traits and how they deal with challenges and failures play a huge role in whether people are successful or not.

In her book, “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success”, Dweck, suggests that having a “growth mindset” and not a “fixed mindset” can help students become more successful. According to Dweck (2006):

“In a fixed mindset, students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that. In a growth mindset, students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching, and persistence.”

At this point in the semester, students may be experiencing failure or challenges in their courses. How students perceive the failure or challenge may influence their outcome in the course. For example, students with a fixed mindset may approach a “D” grade on a math test by believing “I’m not smart” or “I’m not a math person, so why should I even try?” These students are likely to provide excuses for not putting in more effort in studying and completing homework assignments. These students are likely to give up. Students with a growth mindset would view the “D” as an opportunity to develop their skills and improve and learn from their mistakes. The poor grade would motivate these students to work harder.

How can you, as a +1, help foster a “growth mindset” in your student:

One way to help your student develop a “growth mindset” is to focus on the process, and not the student, when providing feedback. For example, if your student received a good grade on a term paper, you can say, “Your term paper turned out amazing. I loved how you developed an outline before you began writing,” instead of saying “Your term paper turned out amazing. You’re a genius!” If your student received a poor grade on the paper, you can say, “There’s room to improve. Let’s discuss what steps you need to take in order to learn and improve for next time,” instead of “You’re just not good at writing.”

Resources on Growth Mindset:

MindSET Online
YouTube: Dr. Carol Dweck on Fixed vs. Growth Mindsets
EducationWorld: How Can Teachers Develop Students' Motivation -- and Success?


Personal Responsibility: Seek Help Before It’s Too Late

Please watch the following YouTube video and consider sharing it with your student.

You can help your student be proactive about grades!

Faculty often hear their students say, “I’m worried about my grade.” Students need to be proactive and start talking with their professors in person early in the semester. Most faculty are willing and even enjoy talking with their students outside of class.

Students also need to read the course syllabus and get a solid understanding of course expectations including the grading process and absence policy set by each teacher. Students should also regularly attend class, do their required homework, revise papers or re-take exams when given the opportunity, and ask for help or clarification when needed – before it’s too late!


Procrastination: Get the now habit!

Please watch the following YouTube video and consider sharing it with your student.

According to an article in Psychology Today, everyone procrastinates sometimes, but at least 20% of the population chronically avoids difficult tasks and looks for distractions. Procrastinators may say they perform better under pressure, and for some that may be true. For most, it’s a way of justifying their procrastination.

Talk to your student about effectively managing time. Time management is a skill that’s critical to success in school and life. For students to effectively manage their time, they must understand that for every unit of coursework they should plan to spend at least 2 hours outside of class studying, preparing for exams, reading, writing, and working on projects and/or assignments.

A full load of classes at SMC is 12 units and, in general, will require a 36 hour time commitment each week. Talk to your student about this as well as finding a balance in life that includes time for health and well-being. Perhaps the interactive time management chart found by clicking on the link below will be useful to you and your student.

SMC Time Management Chart