Athletics and Academics: TRIO Star Adnane Adossama

When Adnane Adossama arrived at Castleton, he wasn’t sure he could succeed at college. Still, he worked hard and made the Dean’s List his freshman year. That boosted Adnane’s confidence, but his struggles had just begun.

“I had to decide what to do with my education,” says Adnane. “I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to pursue exercise science, athletic training, or transfer to another school. I didn’t have a focus, but too many.”

For a while, Adnane even entertained the idea of dropping out of college despite his high grades. “I wanted to make sure I had a clear career path,” he explains. “College is such a big investment, and I wanted to make sure of the return.”

To get some clarity about his goals, Adnane met with Kelley Beckwith, Director of Academic Services. She dissuaded Adnane from dropping out, showing him that finishing his education would improve his career prospects, regardless of his major. She also helped him navigate university life, communicate with his professors, and better understand the resources available to him. “Meeting with Kelley gave me the feeling I wasn’t alone and someone wanted me to succeed,” says Adnane. “She understood my goals and pointed me in the right direction.”

After meeting with Beckwith, Adnane started taking advantage of the Academic Support Center’s resources. He met with various tutors, including a chemistry tutor named Katie Wielgasz. She not only helped Adnane master chemistry; she taught him how to break up assignments and teach himself new material. “It’s something I carry over into other classes,” says Adnane.

Today, Adnane is a junior exercise science major with minors in business administration and physical education.  A student-athlete, he has maintained a 3.38 GPA while playing football and lacrosse. In addition, Adnane works part time in Castleton’s mailroom and, for the last two years, he has mentored a student at Castleton Elementary School.

Adnane’s work ethic and dedication have won the respect of staff and students alike. “He is a leader and role model both in the classroom and on the athletic field,” says Beckwith. This fall, Adnane enjoyed serving as on a mentor panel for first-year football players. “It’s good for younger players,” he remarks. “We have experienced everything they might go through, so we can only make their experience better.”

After graduation, Adnane plans to attend graduate school and pursue a career in physical therapy. Because of his lifelong passion for athletics, he wants to work with athletes, either training them for their sport or helping them recover from injuries.

Adnane is grateful for the support he has received both at Castleton and from his family. He hopes other students learn from his journey. He has three tips for new students. “Never take any class for granted because they all count,” he says. “Make sure you take full advantage of the resources you are offered. And finally, understand you have people at the university who want you to succeed.”

-Dorothy A. Dahm

Finals Week: Survive, Thrive, and Celebrate!

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It hardly seems possible, but in just over two weeks, the semester will be over. Chances are, you’re excited about vacation and the holidays – and can’t wait until finals are behind you. After all, Exam Week means study sessions during which you cram for finals and churn out one capstone essay after another.

Being nervous about the semester’s end is normal. But staying up all night to review notes and finish assignments isn’t healthy or effective. When you’re sleep-deprived, your brain doesn’t work as well, so you don’t absorb as much information as you would if you were rested. You also make careless errors. (All of us at Academic Support teach, and we recognize the work you finish at 4 am. Trust us.)

But if you’re not staying up all night to get through Finals Week, how will you finish your work? Fortunately, you can sail through the end of the semester without losing your sleep or sanity. Here are some tips to keep you focused during exams:

1.) Start Early; Break It Up. Many people begin shopping for the holidays long before December 1st. You should start studying for exams well in advance of Finals Week. Review your notes and previous tests, if applicable, for 10-20 minutes each day. This way, the information will be fresh and firm in your mind. Also, divide writing assignments into manageable chunks. You might create an outline one day, write a rough draft the next day, and revise your essay the day after that.

2.) Prioritize. Yes, being a college student means juggling a lot of commitments: classes, activities, part-time work, a social life, and family. And the end of the semester, combined with the holidays, can amplify these obligations. That’s why now, more than ever, you need to remind yourself of why you’re here. Promise yourself you’ll enjoy an outing with friends – after you finish your sociology take-home exam.

3.) Take Care. Telling yourself you’ll be able to relax after Finals can propel you through a tough week. However, don’t save all of your treats for the holidays. Schedule short breaks during Exam Week to exercise, connect with friends or family, or simply curl up with a book or movie. Making room for fun keeps you healthy and motivated; it’s also a valuable time management skill.

4.) Be Grateful. Let’s face it: if you’re in a position to fret about finals, you’re a pretty lucky person. Lots of people, in the US and overseas, cannot access higher education. When the assignments multiply and stress piles up, take a deep breath. Remind yourself of how privileged you are to be able to study something you love and pursue the life you want.

Finals Week doesn’t have to mean sleepless nights, too much caffeine, and harried students. As the year draws to a close, use this time to reflect on how much you’ve learned and celebrate how far you’ve come.

-Dorothy A. Dahm